RE: Update from The Alexander Pandemic Preparedness Committee
Dear Residents, Staff, Families & Friends of The Alexander,
We are very excited to see the restrictions easing for Melbourne as the number of active COVID cases drop in the Metro area. We continue to be COVID free here at The Alexander and our Pandemic Preparedness Committee continues to regularly meet and make updates in line with the most recent State and Commonwealth Health directions for Aged Care.
We have summarised the most commonly ask questions for this update and thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we work our way through this unprecedented time.
Voluntary COVID Testing For Residential Aged Care Services VIC
The Government has expanded capacity for testing of asymptomatic aged care workers. Melbourne Pathology were here on Wednesday for the voluntary testing program.
The testing is voluntary however all Aged Care Workers are strongly encouraged to participate in the program. Aged Care workers include those on staff at the facility whether in direct personal care, hospitality services or administrative support. We encourage all residential aged care workers to participate.
Testing is also encouraged for workers who may regularly attend the facility, such as medical practitioners, allied health, and National Disability Insurance Scheme staff. Testing will help providers know the COVID-19 status of workers on a given day. This may also alert providers if someone is positive before further transmission or a significant outbreak occurs.
A very big thank you to the 25 staff that were tested. All results were negative, so we remain COVID-19 free. We expect the testing to be onsite again in two weeks’ time and will keep you updated.
One Workplace Policy
The one work site policy remains in effect for Victoria until the 30th of November for Private Aged Care homes. We are very grateful to all of the staff who have continued to work extra shifts to fill our roster and acknowledge how difficult it has been for us not being part of a multisite organisation.
There has been no further announcement on, if, or when the one workplace policy will change. We will update all staff as soon as another announcement is made.
Changes To Visiting Hours
As you should all be aware, we are obligated to comply with the Chief Health Officer Care Directives (No. 15 as at 6.11.20) which outlines maximum visitation information for all Victorian Health Care Facilities including Aged Care Homes. The full document is published on our website.
As we are still wary of risks associated with COVID outbreaks, we will work towards increasing visiting hours and times. For the week commencing 9th November:
- Residents can have a maximum of 1 visitor per day (as per CHO Care Directive No. 15 & due to social distancing given our room size) We would like all residents to have a visitor each week so as they don’t miss out. We ask that families please organise and plan with each other who will be visiting each week as there are limited appointments available. Priority will be given for visitors who have not been able to see their loved ones in recent time.
- For people with current compassionate visits, these remain unchanged and nursing staff will communicate with you regarding these arrangements.
- Visits are by appointment only and for a maximum of 1 hour.
- Appointment times are available from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.30am to 1.30pm.
- Visits will continue to take place in the resident rooms until further notice
All visitors will continue to be screened on arrival at the main entrance. We will provide you with PPE and we ask that you please follow directions of staff during your visit. When visiting, you will need to go directly to the person’s room for your visit and avoid spending time in the resident communal areas. Please maintain 1.5m social distancing in the home and a fitted face mask must always be worn whilst inside the building. If you need anything while you are visiting, then our staff will be more than happy to get it for you.
Zoom visits are still available on Tuesday & Thursday afternoons or alternative Window visits can be arranged. Please phone Jenny or Fiona at reception to book in a time.
Residents are able to go on family outings and will be individually assessed for a need for quarantine pending location visited. The Commonwealth’s new emergency leave provision for permanent aged care residents is now available until 30 June 2021. Please contact Jim or Vicki should you wish to access this initiative.
We appreciate your understanding and patience as we move towards increased visiting. The easing of our restrictions will ensure our strict screening processes continue and our infection control procedures can be maintained.
For appointments, please contact Jenny or Fiona at reception on 9548 7366.
Residents are encouraged to have their meals in the shared dining areas with social distancing in place. There are signs up in all shared areas indicating the maximum number of occupants for the room. The maximum number of occupants includes staff so please be mindful of this during meals or activities.
Visiting church services will resume in the near future and we will be sending our revamped facility newsletter out with details soon.
Should you have concerns or are feeling distressed regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Health has an assistance page to help you maintain your mental health. Please access https://headtohealth.gov.au/covid-19-support.
Thank you to all our residents who have been extremely patient and supportive during our restrictions. We know this has been a difficult time and we look forward to opening up and getting back to normal again soon.
Thank you to all the families and friends who have been diligently following our infection control processes and patiently undergoing our screening process each time you visit. We realise it has been a difficult time for you with our restricted visiting hours and we hope to open up further in the coming weeks.
We also cannot finish this letter without another BIG thank you to all our wonderful staff who continue to go above and beyond the call of duty to keep our residents safe & happy! And P.S. Thank you to the kitchen team for preparing the staff meals this week that were delicious!