In the last 24 hours we have reviewed three salient pieces of advice to inform our position at Bankstown City Aged Care concerning visiting access to our facilities:
- Recent Government moves to progress toward lessening of pandemic restrictions nationally;
- Yesterday’s advice from the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Dr Brendan Murphy regarding the recommendations of the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee (AHPPC) about visitors to aged care; and
- Advice from the NSW Public Health Unit that the numbers of COVID-19 positive cases in the Canterbury Bankstown area do not meet the definition of a significant community outbreak, despite the LGA being ranked 9th in the state. This is based on a total number of positive cases of 85 in our local government area with a population of over 377,000.
We have also considered advice from the government that social distancing may need to be in place for many months in the wider community and the impact a prolonged lockdown could have on our residents wellbeing.
Based on this advice and the current environment we have decided to adopt a proportionate and risk based response to relaxing the visiting restrictions to our aged care facilities. For a period of 1 week, commencing Thursday 30 April we will trial restricted visiting to all our sites.
We believe this approach is balancing the infection control measures in aged care with the well-being and interests of the residents. We will carefully monitor the number of visitors to each site, the additional workload on the staff in facilitating the visit (particularly the entry screening processes) and the compliance of visitors with the important entry requirements.
BCAC will be employing additional staff to facilitate these visits as we need to take the temperature of everyone entering, collect information on recent health symptoms and travel history, as well as checking vaccination evidence has been provided from 1 May 2020.
We will also be reviewing the additional cleaning hours we have put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure all hand rails, door handles, reception areas etc are cleaned at the end of the visiting period.
From Thursday 30 April the following will apply:
Number of visitors
- 1 per resident for 1.5 hours per day (2 in total per day, but this needs to include medical officers and other health professionals)
- Visiting times on Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be between 11am-1pm
- Visiting times on Tuesdays and Thursday will be between 4.30pm-6.30pm
- Visiting at the weekend will not be available until further notice
- Compassionate visits will be accommodated outside these hours once a manager has approved your request.
Outside of these hours we will continue to connect our residents with you via phone or other technology platforms.
Please do not arrive early as we will not have staff available to accommodate this.
Current restrictions for ANYONE entering an aged care facility in Australia (this includes staff, volunteers, visitors, contractors)
No-one will be able to enter any aged care facility in Australia if:
- they have returned from overseas in the last 14 days;
- they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days;
- they have a fever, or symptoms, or acute respiratory infection symptoms,
- from 1 May 2020 everyone entering an aged care facility must have had an influenza vaccination
Restrictions at Bankstown City Aged Care facilities for visitors including family, friends, professional service providers or advocacy workers
- All external gates to our villages will be closed with directions for all visitors to report to reception
- All visitors must report to reception at each site every time you visit as you will be required to sign in and out of the building so we can monitor visitors on site. This central area will also be a source of information via posters/flyers/handouts.
- Visitors will be limited to a MAXIMUM OF 1.5 HOURS. This timeframe will be reviewed for any resident that is palliative and families should approach the manager to discuss this further.
- Visits must be conducted in a resident’s room or outdoors and it is recommended that visitors need to sit 1.5 metres away from the resident (this is called social distancing)
- Only one visitor will be allowed to visit one resident once per day. This limit allows a health professional such as a doctor, dietician etc to be included in the daily limit of two visitors to the facility per resident. This will also make it easier to observe the 1.5 metre social distancing requirement.
- Visitors must not enter a communal area like a lounge or dining room where other residents may be sitting. This means if you would like to stay with your loved one during a meal time this will need to occur in the resident’s room. If staff are required to assist your relative with their meal we will ask you to wait outside so we can meet our requirements for social distancing.
- Strict handwashing or hand sanitising with handrub must be observed on entry to the facility, before entering a resident’s room and after leaving the room. We have alcohol based rub as well as handwashing areas for visitors to use.
- Permission for children under the age of 16 to visit will need prior approval by the Manager and will only be approved in exceptional circumstances
- Each village will provide you with advice on locations that are suitable outside locations for you to sit whilst visiting.
Mother’s Day Visiting
We will roster more staff on Mother’s Day, Sunday 10 May, to allow visiting between 11am -1pm. Under normal circumstances we would have a function for our residents but given the social distancing restrictions we are unable to do this. Please feel free to bring in morning tea to celebrate with your loved one.
Thank you to those families that have returned your evidence of influenza vaccination. This requirement of vaccination prior to gaining entry to an aged care facility is both a Commonwealth and NSW Health requirement, and as such BCAC must comply with it.
In the next few days the BCAC staff will be contacting all next of kin on our records who have not provided us with a copy of your vaccination record.
Your information will be stored in accordance with our policies and copies of these can be made available on request.