Residential aged care providers received advice from Dr Chant.
The major changes are summarised below:
WHO CANNOT VISIT AGED CARE FACITLIES?
Visitors are excluded who:
- Have a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 (symptoms of COVID are currently defined as fever, cough, headache, fatigue, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or loss of smell, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting, or loss of appetite.)
- Have been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case
- Have been in any of the locations at the dates and times listed on the self-isolate and get tested immediately page on the NSW Health website
- Have been in any of the locations at the dates and times listed on the monitor for symptoms page on the NSW Health website
- Have been in Victoria (apart from the Victorian border region)
WHO CAN VISIT AGED CARE FACITLIES
Anyone not in the categories above can visit aged care facilities but there are some conditions in certain areas. If you live, work or have been to an area of INCREASED TESTING (as defined by NSW Health) in the last 14 days you can visit but there is a requirement for visitors to be escorted to and from the residents’ room.
The areas defined as increased testing in NSW are Camden local government area, Liverpool local government area and Lakemba (suburb).
IMPACT OF CHANGES TO VISITING ARRANGMENTS
We had hoped to launch an online booking system this week but with the announced changes and the implications we will be delaying the release of this system. The requirement to escort visitors from the Liverpool and Camden local government areas and the suburb of Lakemba, have an impact on the workload of staff and we need to factor this into our visiting arrangements and booking system.
We are very aware that a significant number of our families live in the increased testing LGA’s and have not been able to visit for many months due to the NSW Health restrictions, and we anticipate a significant increase in visiting once families become aware of the relaxing of this restriction.
STRATEGIES TO MANAGE THE INCREASE IN VISITING
- If you have NOT BEEN to the Liverpool or Camden LGA or the suburb of Lakemba your visiting arrangements previously advised to you by the Facility Manager will not change. The entry screening opportunities/times you have which are spaced across the week will stay the same. There will be NO TIME LIMIT to your visit once you have entered the facility.
- If you HAVE BEEN to the Liverpool or Camden LGA or the suburb of Lakemba please ring reception at the village where your loved one lives (during reception hours) and book a time to be escorted to and from the room of your relative. At this stage visiting can only be offered Monday- Friday between 10am-3pm as we need to ensure we have enough staff to escort visitors around our large sites.
As the local government area restrictions ease we will revert to one entry screening system and will advise you when that happens.
HOW MANY VISITORS CAN COME TO THE FACILITY TO SEE ONE RESIDENT?
Two visitors per resident at one time.
OUTINGS FOR RESIDENTS
- Residents can leave the facility to attend small family gatherings and group excursions (excluding to areas of increased testing)
- Outings should be outdoors where possible
- If planning a visit to an indoor location (café, club, restaurant) choose venues that are not crowded and are well ventilated
- Avoid any venues/family homes in the Liverpool or Camden local government areas as well as Lakemba (suburb)
- Residents should wear a mask when social distancing is not possible, including on shared transport
- There is no requirement for COVID testing or self-isolation on return to the facility unless the resident has chosen to attend a venue or family home in Liverpool or Camden LGAs or Lakemba (suburb). Residents attending a hospital or medical appointment in these locations do not need to isolate on return to the facility.
The local Public Health Unit (SWSLHD) has advised us that residents SHOULD NOT leave the facility with family or friends who are from the increased testing areas of Liverpool LGA, Camden LGA’s or Lakemba.
If you intend to take your relative home or to a café, club, restaurants etc we still require you to seek approval from the manager. We will also need you to complete the Resident outing Declaration so we can comply with the requirements to keep data on the outing.
The local Public Health Unit has advised that residents can leave the facility to go to local shops however they must practice social distancing, use hand sanitiser when returning to the facility (and if possible at the point of entry of the shop) and wear a mask if they cannot practice social distancing.