COVID-19 Virus
25th March Update

25 Mar 2020 | Bankstown

Temperature Checks for EVERYONE entering aged care facilities in NSW

New regulations have been announced this week in NSW and everyone entering an aged care facility will be required to have their temperature checked.  Anyone with a temperature ABOVE 37.5 degrees will not be allowed to enter – this includes staff, doctors, contractors and visitors. This new requirement means we will need to have one central point for all visitors to report to so their temperature can be checked before they proceed any further. This new requirement has resulted in changes to the visiting hours at all BCAC sites.  This decision was not taken lightly but it is important that we do everything we can to control the spread of the virus.

Visitors will also be asked to sign in and out of the facility with the date and time.

You will also be required to sign a health declaration on each occasion indicating that you have no symptoms of cold or flu.

Visiting Hours are changing effective Thursday 26 March 2020

New visiting hours will apply for all visitors from Thursday 26 March 2020.  Visitors will still be restricted to 1 per resident for 1.5 hours per day and visiting will be restricted to the following times

Monday 10.30 am -12.30pm
Tuesday 10.30-12.30 pm
Wednesday 5.00 -7.00pm
Thursday 10.30am – 12.30pm
Friday 10.30am – 12.30pm

No visiting at weekends until further notice.

Visitors will still be required to come to the reception before entering any other building on the site. Visitors will still be required to socially distance themselves 1.5 m away from the resident and must remain in the resident’s room for the entire visit.

If your loved one is palliative we will liaise with you so that we minimise the risk to other residents but still support your need to spend time with your relative. Please talk to our Managers about any concerns you may have.  We want to partner with you during what is a difficult time and will do everything we can to assist you.

Additional Support to remain in Touch

We are working on setting up iPads and other technology so that you can still be in touch with your loved ones using technology.  We will send you more information when we have finalised the program which will allow you to book an appointment so that staff can link you to your relative.

Vaccinations

By 1 May 2020 the government has issued a directive to all aged care providers that all staff and visitors entering an aged care facility MUST have had a current flu vaccination.  We will need you to provide us with evidence you have been vaccinated which we will keep on a central register so that you will not need to bring it each time you visit.  Your privacy will be maintained and only staff who need to access this information will be in a position to see the information.

Under NSW and Commonwealth regulations and guidelines we will not be able to permit anyone to enter the building if they have not provided the facility with evidence of vaccination.

A copy of the NSW Public Health requirements can be found at

https://gazette.legislation.nsw.gov.au/so/download.w3p?id=Gazette_2020_2020-55.pdf

External appointments and social outings for residents

Advice from experts has led us to introduce 14 days of self-isolation for all residents returning from social leave.  This is a very difficult decision to make but is in the best interests of all our residents and therefore all requests from residents to leave the facility must be referred to the Manager so the resident understands the self-isolation requirement when they return to the facility.

Urgent or necessary medical appointments will be reviewed on a case by case basis and where possible will be held using telehealth.

Planning for an outbreak

Bankstown City Aged care has the following measures in place:

  • An infection control/respiratory outbreak plan which has been updated to include COVID-19
  • Staff are aware of their role in actioning the outbreak plan and ongoing training on the plan is constantly rolling out
  • Online training for staff is also supporting face to face training for critical elements of infection control
  • Access to residents is strictly controlled in accordance with advice from government health departments
  • A contingency plan is in place in case 20-30% of our workforce is affected by the virus and cannot work (see more on this below)
  • A stocktake of our critical equipment has been undertaken and levels are reviewed weekly.  A central supply is also held in the corporate office to top up local supplies at each village.  The government has a central contact point for us to access these items in the event of an outbreak
  • All residents are assessed daily for signs of a cold/influenza and will be immediately isolated in their room
  • Additional cleaning measures in each village will be implemented

Contingency Plan for staff

We have a plan to address the possible staff shortage during an outbreak, however based on what we have observed overseas and in Australia, the virus moves very quickly as it is highly contagious and our plan may need to be constantly reviewed.

We may find ourselves in a situation where we need, on the advice of the Public Health Unit,   to cohort (group) residents who test positive for COVID in one location/area of the village and this means we may need to move residents to another room.  If we do need to do this we will talk to you in advance taking into account the security of tenure provisions in the resident’s contract.   We will only do this if we absolutely have to and we commit to moving your loved one back to their original room as soon as the outbreak is over.

Cohorting (or grouping) residents is a known infection control strategy used in hospitals and as these are extraordinary times they call for solutions that prevent the virus from spreading.

Elder Clown Program

Gillawarna and Yallambee

The Elder Clown program run by the Humour Foundation has been suspended until further notice.  Archie, Monty, Bonnie and all the Elder Clowns look forward to returning later in the year

Additional Aged Care Funding

The Government has announced $444 million additional funding to support aged care workers during the COVID pandemic and $234.9 million is a COVID-19 retention bonus to ensure the continuity of the workforce in both residential and home care sectors.  The government will be giving staff who work in residential services a payment of up to $800 after tax per quarter – paid for two quarters – for direct care workers; and two payments of up to $600 after tax per quarter – for two quarters – for those who provide care in the home. Part time workers will receive a pro rata rate.

At this stage there has been no indication that additional funding is being allocated to providers for additional staff except in the event of an outbreak.

Hairdressing and Beautician services

Following the Government announcement on 24 March 2020 we will not be able to provide Beautician services until further notice.  Hair Dressing services will be on a limited basis and we will have more information for you once we have put a plan in place. In the meantime we will be observing the 4 square metre rule in the salon areas.

BCAC General Update

We have risk assessed some of our existing activities and made hard decisions to close some areas of the business for the short term.  These are detailed below:

The café in Gillawarna is closed until further notice.

The Wellness Centre is closed until further notice

The Betty Sussman centre services have been suspended until 1 July 2020.

We would appreciate it if accounts could be paid via phone if you have not set up a direct debit as we would like to reduce the number of people attending the Corporate Office to pay accounts.  The best number to call is 8717 0180. If you would like to set up a direct debit please contact our Crporate team on 8717 0180.

Communication Strategy

In the event of a potential or confirmed outbreak we will be completely locking the facility down and will communicate this to you as soon as practicable.  We will be setting up a system to send a group SMS to the primary contact of each resident and ask that you communicate this to other family and friends who may visit.  We also ask that you give us time to put in place all the required procedures to isolate the affected residents and to protect the other residents.  As soon as we have implemented these measures we will call the families of the potentially affected residents   (ie those with symptoms) and then will issue a wider communication to all families with what is happening.

To enable this communication to be effective we need you to ensure we have your up to date mobile and email address of the primary contact.   If you have not already provided us with updated details please contact us ASAP.

You can call the administration team in the village or you can call the Corporate Office on 8717 0180

We will update our website if we have an outbreak with information and will also use SMS and email.

THANK YOU

These are extraordinary times in our society and the Board, Management Team and staff at BCAC are committed to doing everything we can to prevent, detect and contain the COVID virus. We appreciate your patience, support and understanding during this difficult time. We will communicate with you when there are important information or updates and ask you to distribute this to your other family members.

Stay safe and well.

Warm regards

Deborah Key
CEO