COVID-19 Pandemic Update

 

25th May 2020

Dear Families,

 

Firstly, thank you to all the families who have responded to our ‘quality contact’ telephone call in the last two weeks.

Over the next fortnight we will be actioning concerns raised, firstly by logging them in the feedback system and then following up with you.

The NSW Government has eased measures for the general public and the Commonwealth has also eased restrictions for visiting to residential aged care highlighted in Yellow below.

https://lasa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Industry-Code-RAC-Visits-FINAL-11-May-2020-1.15pm.pdf

 

Summary:

Right of Entry

  1. Do not visit the Home if you have a cold or flu-like symptoms including runny nose, cough, scratchy throat, fever
  2. You will not be permitted entry or be on the premise if
    1. you have not had influenza vaccination (flu-vax) – you must provide the Home with a copy of the vaccination record
    2. You will not be permitted entry if you have a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius
    3. You do not have an appointment
    4. You are under 16 years of age
  3. Visitors can now include friends and others
  4. Visitors can stay for 2 hours at a time
  5. Up to 4 visitors – please check with management at the time of making an appointment to ensure we can maintain social distancing with this number
  6. NDIS and other allied health visitors can recommence
  7. Religious services and entertainment are recommencing but from a distance

 

On Entry

  1. Sanitise hands
  2. Complete statement that
    1. You have not returned from overseas or travelled on a cruise ship within the last 14 days
    2. Been in contact with someone who has COVID -19 within the last 14 days
    3. You are currently in contact or caring for someone who is unwell
    4. Have had any respiratory symptoms current or within the last 7 days
  3. Have your temperature taken and record this on the Visitor Log
  4. Face mask on
  5. Wash your hands at the sink

 

When in the Home

  • Only visit your immediate family member or the person you have arrived to visit if you are a friend
  • Social distance (1.5m)
  • Keep face mask on

 

Going Out

  • Residents can only leave the Home for medical appointments

 

Please direct all queries to the local management team.

 

Regards

Dr James Grealy

Chief Executive Officer


8th May 2020

 

Dear Families,

 

WE ARE NOT EASING RESTRICTIONS FOR VISITORS.

Our number 1 priority is the safety and well being of the residents so on mother’s day the same restrictions will apply as every other day.

The risk of an outbreak in the Homes has not changed, in fact, with fewer restrictions in the community we need to be more careful at the Homes over the next few weeks.

Rules for visiting

  • Make an appointment to visit. If you turn up you may not be permitted to enter.
  • One visitor at a time.
  • Visitors must be over 18 years of age.
  • Provide proof of having had influenza vaccination (FLU VAX) – NO FLU VAX NO ENTRY
  • Must remain 1.5m from their resident family member.
  • You must sanitise and wash hands upon entry, wear a mask, sign the declaration, and have temperature taken.

 

The only exception to the number of visitors and duration of visits is for palliating residents by negotiation with the manager.

 

We are happy to accept presents on behalf of the resident and provide these to the resident if you cannot enter.

 

Do not visit when having the mildest symptoms of ‘cold’ or ‘flu’ scratchy throat, runny nose, cough, sneezing.

Residents may only leave the premise for medical appointments.

 

Regards,

Dr James Grealy

Chief Executive Officer


22nd April 2020

 

Dear Families,

Re: Increasing risk of COVID-19 / Influenza being introduced into the Home

At the outset, I want to be clear that our priority is the health and well-being of the residents which includes connectedness to family.

We have not gone into full lockdown because we are working with families to ensure residents receive carefully managed visits but this is now at risk.

The Problem 

Managers are reporting that not all visitors maintain social distancing when visiting loved ones.

To date, there are 52 cases of COVID-19 in Nursing Homes in NSW with a high death rate of people over 70 years old.

I’m sure you want your loved one to remain safe during this time, but one person infected can impact the entire Home.

Please realise that if there is an outbreak, we will be in full lockdown resulting in no visitors permitted.

The Solution 

In line with government directives for aged care homes, here’s a reminder of what you need to do when you enter our homes.

  • Make an appointment to attend the service. Please do not just turn up as you will not be let in.
  • Sign a declaration to state you are not ill, and meet the other criteria for entry and have your temperature taken.
  • We only allow one visitor at a time per resident because social distancing would be impossible if everyone had several visitors.
  • If you have not linked to our MINT app then ask the management at the Home as this will keep you updated directly from the CEO and local management team.
  • If you assist your family member with meals you must wear a mask and gloves.

If we do not see an improvement over the remainder of this week and weekend we will have to recalibrate our processes.

Please do not become complacent with this as one person infected will spread quickly and may cause multiple deaths in our Homes.

Also, from 1st May you will not be permitted entry if you have not provided evidence of influenza vaccination or a medical certificate stating you are exempt from the vaccination.

Regards,

Dr James Grealy

Chief Executive Officer


16th April 2020

 

Dear Families,

I would like to take this opportunity to update you on our actions to care for the residents and minimise the risk of a COVID-19 and influenza outbreak at the Homes during this unprecedented time.

Firstly, if you are not receiving regular updates or have any concerns about care and services please advise the management at the Home or log feedback via the online form on our website. Our primary portal for communication is via the app Mint.

A reminder that all visitors must have influenza vaccination by end-April 2020 and we require you to present the record of vaccination for our note. Vaccination has legislated by the NSW Government for visitors to aged care homes and is a requirement of the Commonwealth Government. The exception to this is a medical condition or religious reason – please speak with the manager.

The Board, Executive, and Management continue to implement robust processes, communication, analysis of risk data and evaluation of practices to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents, staff, and families.  A more detailed outline of our actions to date is below.

On a final note, we will continue with the current strategies to minimise the risk of an outbreak including visits to residents by appointment with the exception of palliating residents and residents distressed by separation from family. Stay safe and stay well.

Best regards

Dr James Grealy

Chief Executive Officer

 

High level summary of actions

Board and Executive Oversight and Governance

  • Director visiting Homes to personally check actions and care and service delivery
  • Limited visiting of Executives with COO not visiting as a risk mitigation strategy for CEO and CFO being affected by COVID-19 or influenza
  • Multiple Updates weekly with Executive and management at the Homes
  • CEO Comms to families and staff
  • Comms to Residents
  • Microsoft TEAMs for centralised information for management at Homes
  • Organisational Pandemic Plan
  • Commission desk top audits-oversight
  • COVID-19 Audits conducted at homes via Moving on Audits

Govt and industry updates

  • Monitored by CEO and COO
  • Communicated to managers and care managers
  • Policy updates

Residents

  • Monitoring of temperatures and checking for flu-like symptoms daily
  • High risk residents identified and being monitored closely.
  • Palliating residents and residents who may become distressed are being monitored closely and family access different from other residents
  • No external entertainers – internal programs only
  • Spiritual care – remote or with staff only
  • Connectedness to family see below
  • Flu Vax underway
  • Admissions planned accepted and hospital transfers with confirmation of well-being
  • Telehealth offered in consultation with GPs

Communications 

  • COO & CEO co-ordinated meetings with Executive and management at Homes -minutes kept and policy, procedures, and processes updated
  • Website link for latest CEO messaging
  • Families – via SMS, Website, Mint App
  • Residents –  FACT Sheets, restricted visiting, Memos, Mint App, Face Time, Skype
  • Staff- FACT sheets, training, and organisational directives

Access & Visitors

  • 3-days of no visitors at the commencement of this period whilst we finalised the Pandemic Plan and preparations for the Pandemic
  • Moved to restricted visiting to immediate family, no children, one visitor at a time, visiting by appointment, signing that they are not unwell, have not been OS or with people from OS in last 14 days, the temperature on arrival at the Home, social distancing 
  • Flu Vax required by 1st May
  • Exemption to palliating residents and residents who may be distressed
  • Visitor logs being monitored

Staff

  • Flu Vax required by 17th April
  • Online update on infection Control Training
  • Tool Box Talks 
  • COVID-19 training 
  • Temperatures on arrival at work
  • No traveling on public transport in work clothes
  • Identified staff working at other businesses and Homes
  • Staff contingency plans completed for a possible outbreak
  • The staff over 70  risk plan completed

PPE

  • Full review of PPE (gloves, gowns, masks, etc) at Homes and centralised supply at head office 
  • Hand sanitiser and masks limited supplies all other supplies no issues

Supplier, Contractors, and Consumables

  • Logistics confirmed and low level risk of supply interruption – see above
  • All deliveries to the entrance of Homes to avoid in house contact
  • Non-essential suppliers and contractors canceled / deferred
  • Flu Vax requirement by 17th April implemented 

Carino Care is continuing to review concerns or any arising risks on a daily basis. 

  • Lifestyle programs and spiritual support are being reviewed due to the restrictions and alternative methods being sourced and implemented
  • We have had some Visitors/families projecting aggression towards the staff and the police have been called
  • Hand Sanitizer and masks – we are sourcing elsewhere due to the shortage in Australia
  • Staff who work at more than one aged care centre – we are identifying these staff are aware of the status of the other homes.

 April 3rd, 2020

 

Dear Families,

 

Over the last week, we have started settling into the ‘new world’ living in a time of a Pandemic. Changes at Carino Care include taking the temperature of everyone on entry to a facility, restricted visiting by appointment only, increased staff training and continual updates of managers, care managers with the executives to discuss and implement the best processes at Carino Care. Our priority is ensuring the well-being of residents, staff, and families.

This week, there have been a number of important government updates.

1. NSW Government legislated (Gazette 55): new measure

No one can enter the Home unless they have had the Flu-VaxYou will need to show evidence of having the Flu-Vax to enter a home. We are requiring this from the 18th of April 2020 for all staff, contractors, and visitors. Vaccination for residents and staff is commencing at the Homes currently.

2. No outings for residents unless it is for a medical appointment

3. The introduction of telemedicine is now accessible to aged care facilities with GPs.

Visiting the Homes

We have been advised most aged care homes have gone into full lockdown banning all visitors for extended periods.

We continue to support residents having family restricted visits via appointments. It is imperative for the well-being of residents that they stay connected to the family during the Pandemic. This is a strictly managed approach. We also want to remain open and transparent so you have confidence that your family member residing in one of our Homes is receiving the care and services agreed.

Important points:

1 The ABC has reported (2nd April)  17 aged care homes with 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This reinforces the need for vigilance and adherence to our infection control protocol so your family member is protected.

2 Appointments continue to be the method of visiting. After hour visits are permissible but we need an appointment to be made in advance via administration or management.

3 The staff has been instructed not to open the door unless an appointment has been made. The staff has been instructed to call the police if visitors attempt to enter the facility without permission; abuse will not be tolerated.

4 Visitors must adhere to social distancing and other precautions – including temperature taking on entry and washing of hands thoroughly – please see protocols on entry. 

Social distancing does not apply where a resident is palliating and they are spending quality time with their family.

5 We continue to restrict visitors to the immediate family: spouse/partner, siblings, and adult children.

6 This week we initiated a thorough review of our lifestyle approach to ensure residents still are supported emotionally.

On behalf of the management teams, I would like to thank visitors who are supporting these measures as they are the best way to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak at the Home. We are very appreciative of your commitment to keeping all residents safe. Our number one priority is the health and well-being of the residents in our care.

I would also again express my gratitude to the staff at this time. Like many other Australians, staff also face challenges such as accessing childcare and quite a number have family members who have lost their employment, yet these staff continue to provide wonderful care leaving their worries at the door.

If you have any concerns, please speak with The Manager or Care Manager at the Home.

Regards

James Grealy

Chief Executive Officer


24th March 2020

 

Dear families,

We are very appreciative of your support at this time to restrict visiting to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread while we organise our site plans.

We do not want residents and families to be separated so our plan is to recommence visits by immediate family on Thursday asking that everyone adhere to the following:

  1. You make an appointment/schedule so we can manage the visits (risk) – please call the Home and speak to reception or the management team
  2. One visitor at a time per resident
  3. You respect our instruction to
    1. Wash hands, have temperature taken at entry, wear a mask, sign a declaration
    2. Social distancing of 2 meters from the resident (so no hugging, kissing or close proximity)
    3. Do not visit other residents or relatives
    4. If in a share room then the meeting will be redirected to a lounge  / communal area

Our primary focus is the health and well-being of the residents (your family member) and our staff, and we see it as essential that residents maintain contact with the family.

We understand this is a trying time for everyone but sadly we have had some ugly incidents of verbal and physical aggression by a few families directed toward staff. I will not tolerate this behaviour and have directed the Homes to make this a police matter and the person will be required to leave.

I will keep you updated via the website and Mint.

Regards

James Grealy

CEO