We have not received any further advice from NSW Health on visiting aged care facilities at the time of writing this newsletter so we will leave the current visiting arrangements in place until further notice.
Two visitors can visit one resident once per day on the following day and times at all BCAC facilities. The entry screening times will be:
- Saturday 9am – 3pm
- Monday 9am – 7pm
- Wednesday 9am – 3pm
As mentioned in our last communication you can stay in the facility for as long as you like, once you enter and have been screened.
We will still need to prescreen visitors prior to entering our sites for their home suburb location so all visits will need to be pre booked through reception during office hours. This will also assist us manage the numbers of people on site at any one time.
NSW Health have advised that residents can leave the facility for small family gatherings (a maximum of 5 people are permitted), exercise, attend a day program, medical appointments or to shop for food or other essentials. They have recommended caution when leaving the facility and residents should wear masks when out of the facility and social distancing cannot be maintained.
Residents leaving the facility must not go to areas listed on the NSW Health website, or have contact with someone who would have been denied access to the aged care facility if they tried to visit.
There are still seven (7) locations in Bankstown that are on the NSW Health list of areas where a positive person has been so we will be asking for confirmation of the location where the resident may wish to go before approving the outing. We are still required to keep records of all external locations our residents have visited so we need the Resident Outing Declaration (which is updated with known locations every time NSW Health changes the advice about hotspots or areas of concern). Please contact the Facility Manager to have any external outings approved prior to taking the resident out of the facility.
The local Public Health Unit have confirmed that residents who go to approved locations and follow advice of the Facility Manager, especially if PPE (ie face masks) are required will NOT be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Taking residents to cafes, pubs, clubs or large venues is not encouraged at this time.
PROACTIVE COVID TESTING
As many of you would be aware the Commonwealth Government organised proactive testing of residents and staff in aged care facilities in local government areas where cases had been reported. Yallambee and Chester Hill testing occurred as scheduled and no resident or staff member tested positive. The scheduled and advertised testing of Gillawarna staff and residents was cancelled at the last minute by the Commonwealth with no explanation. To our knowledge no other aged care proactive testing has been occurring in our area since the Gillawarna testing was cancelled. We will inform families if the government reintroduces proactive testing.
In the meantime any resident who develops any symptoms will continue to be isolated and tested in accordance with guidelines.
REVIEW OF OUTBREAK MANAGEMENT PLAN AND CHECKLIST
Following the multiple COVID outbreaks in Victoria there have been a number of documents that highlight the lessons learnt in the aged care sector. BCAC has been reviewing these documents against our existing Outbreak Management Plan and one of the early changes we have implemented is important to share with you.
In the event the Public Health Unit calls the facility to advise us that a resident, visitor or staff member has tested positive we will need to evacuate the facility immediately. At this stage we will have staff issue a flyer to all visitors and contractors asking them to leave the building and advising them that the nominated representative of the resident, as well as our residents and staff, will receive written information with details on the situation later the same day. We will not be providing any further information at this early stage as we need to inform the family of the positive resident (if applicable ) and quickly determine which staff need to be isolating ASAP. This is precious time that we need to act quickly so if you are asked to leave the facility immediately please comply so we have as many staff as possible to start rolling out our outbreak plan actions.
We COMMIT to providing an update on the same day we are notified by the Public Health Unit and to continue to update the nominated representative frequently. We will be asking the nominated representatives to stay in touch with the extended family and friends so calls to the facility are manageable.
As we make changes to our outbreak plan we will share these with you.
As always, your support, words of encouragement and patience is appreciated.