CANTEBURY BANKSTOWN COVID TESTING
On 20 April, Canterbury Bankstown was identified as one of the Sydney continued hotspots for positive COVID cases and the NSW Public Health Unit initiated a drive through testing unit at Liverpool for local residents with symptoms.
The Liverpool drive-through clinic is open on weekdays between the hours of 8:30am- 4:00pm. It is located at Laverty’s collection centre at 177 Elizabeth Drive, Liverpool. Local community residents wishing to use the service need to arrive in a vehicle and have a referral from their GP, their Medicare card and ID. Patients must remain in their vehicles at all times while a nurse in full protective equipment will perform the test.
GOVERNMENT POSITION ON VISITING IN AGED CARE
On 21 April, the PM Scott Morrison made a statement following the National Cabinet meeting voicing concerns about the isolation of older people in residential aged care facilities. His comments were directed at providers that have chosen to exceed the government recommendations and placed their facilities in a total lockdown.
We want to reassure families that it is not the intention of Bankstown City Aged Care to restrict visitors to our facilities for any longer than necessary. Our local area is an identified cluster/hotspot area in Sydney and we believe the risk of the virus spread is greater to our residents than those facilities that do not have a cluster in their local community, and this is one of the reasons we have chosen to exceed the government recommendations.
There was also comments about people being locked away in their rooms and would like to be transparent about our protocols for room isolation.
CRITERIA FOR RESIDENTS BEING ASKED TO SELF-ISOLATE IN THEIR ROOM
- Anyone with any symptoms of a cold, influenza or COVID symptoms. Staff wear personal protective equipment when entering the room and testing for COVID occurs as soon as any symptoms appear or are reported. As soon as the symptoms are resolved and test results are negative the resident is free to join into the general community of the village (whilst observing the social distancing rules we have implemented). Anyone with symptoms awaiting a test result is not permitted to leave their room. This is referred to as isolation in the attached poster.
- Anyone transferring from a local hospital or coming in from home as a new admission is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Additional social support has been put in place so the new resident is made to feel welcome, included and engaged. On compassionate grounds we have allowed one family member to visit on the day of admission for a brief period to help settle the resident and to meet the staff. This is referred to as quarantine in the attached poster.
- Any of our residents returning from hospital or external medical appointments are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in their room. Another provider in Sydney has reported a positive case following a resident leaving the facility to attend a medical appointment. We are encouraging and supporting telehealth consults with specialists or even asking them to visit the resident in our facility, where we have greater control and visibility of infection control measures. This is referred to as quarantine in the attached poster.
Residents not in isolation or quarantine are able to choose from a range of activities on offer that meets the requirements for social distancing, but still gives a sense of belonging and engagement.
In previous newsletters we have reported on the additional staff we have put in place to support our residents, and we have been receiving some lovely emails of thanks from families for our efforts and initiatives, particularly around keeping residents from feeling isolated. If you are concerned about your relatives mood or comments they make when you talk to them, please let us know by calling the facility and talking to the RN.
We are fast approaching 1 May when aged care facilities will not be allowed to let anyone enter who has not had an influenza vaccination. Please make sure you provide us with the evidence of your vaccination so we can update our records.
COMMUNCATION WITH OUR TEAM
Our clinical team have been making weekly phone calls to the person nominated as the next of kin, guardian or person responsible in our records. We are also receiving a large number of calls from other family members requesting the same information that has been conveyed by the RN during the weekly phone call. We need your assistance to share information with your family when you receive our calls so that our staff can spend time looking after our residents.
We encourage you to ring us at any time if you are concerned about anything and we will continue to contact you if there is any change in a resident’s condition.
For the villages where we have changed pharmacy providers you may have noticed some anomalies on your invoices. The outgoing pharmacy has now provided the new pharmacy, Max Value Pharmacy with the medications that had not been used by residents, and these medications will be supplied back to the resident by the new pharmacy. Adjustments will be made on the next invoice to reflect this.