This morning the South Western Sydney Local Health District held a teleconference with local aged care providers to advise providers that NSW Health has formally declared the Crossroads Hotel, Casula as a COVID-19 cluster. We have also been notified by a small number of family members of residents, BCAC staff and our home care community clients that they have been at the Crossroads Hotel during the period 3-10 July which is considered the high risk period. The family members have visited our facilities and staff have worked at our facilities before the known cluster was declared and they are all now in isolation on the advice of the Public Health Unit.
NO ONE ISOLATING HAS TESTED POSITIVE NOR HAS ANY SIGNS OF ANY SYMPTOMS.
We have carefully reviewed the situation and have taken into account the safety of our residents, along with the local risks and will be making changes to our strategies for an initial period of 2 weeks effective immediately:
- Daily screening of all our residents which will include temperature checking and monitoring for signs of any symptoms.
- All social leave for any external family gatherings is discouraged and any resident choosing to take the risk to the leave the facility will need to be isolated on return to the facility for 14 days.
- If a resident needs to attend an external medical appointment which cannot be conducted via telehealth the manager will conduct a risk assessment to ensure the risk to the resident is minimised whilst they are out of the facility. An example of this would include waiting in the car until the appointment time and having the receptionist phone that the practitioner is available.
- Visiting will be RESTRICTED to families and friends in accordance with Principle 3 of the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 (updated 3 July 2020) which I have attached for your information. Bookings for visits will need to be made during business hours Monday – Friday via reception at the facility, and permission to visit will be based on section 7 of the Principles which allows visiting under the following circumstances.
- Residents who are dying will be allowed in-room visits from loved ones on a regular basis. The number of visitors, length, frequency, and nature of the visits will reflect what is needed for the person to die with dignity and comfort, taking into account their physical, emotional, social and spiritual support needs.
- Residents who have a clearly established and regular pattern of involvement from visitors contributing to their care and support (this could be daily or a number of times per week and, for example assisting a resident with their meals or with essential behaviour support such as for people living with dementia) will continue to have these visits facilitated.
- Visits from family, families of choice and friends who travel extensive distances to visit the resident. A prior agreement between the visitor and our facilities will be required to determine if an extended-duration visit is able to be accommodated.
- Residents with a clear mental health issue- Provision of support to maintain the mental wellbeing of the older person, where a serious mental illness is known or emerging and where the maintenance of social and family connection may contribute to relieving social and emotional distress for the resident.
Unless we advise you otherwise the period of restricted visiting will be in place until Monday 27 July. We have not taken this decision lightly and acknowledge that restricting visitors has implications for the wellbeing of our residents.
We will continue to offer alternate ways of you staying connected, which includes assisted communications, using ipads or mobile phones, and we will continue to monitor the local risks to see if we can reduce the period of the restricted visiting. You can send an email to your relative by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the resident’s name in the subject line and we will print it out and deliver it to the resident. If the resident cannot read the message we will read it to them.
We will keep you informed of any developments over the next 2 weeks and will always collaborate with you to ensure that together we not only keep your loved ones safe but they also remain connected to families and friends.
As the situation is evolving the declaration that anyone visiting must complete will need to be revised and the latest version of the declaration will be available from our website www.bcac.com.au
You have received this communication as the primary contact for your loved one and we would appreciate it if you could share this information with your wider family and regular visitors to our facilities.
We appreciate your understanding at this time and hope you stay safe.