CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

 

26 June 2020

Following up from our newsletter earlier in the week, there have been daily updates particularly in relation to Victoria with more specific information released on the location of the hotspots as well as a focussed testing blitz in the priority areas of risk.

In response to the government announcements, our Homes in Victoria tightened visitor access early this week. We are extremely grateful for the support of families, understanding we had only recently eased restrictions. The risk of community infection has proven to remain a threat with the ongoing safety of our residents and staff remaining our priority.

The suburbs that have now been identified as having the highest rates of community transmission are as follows:

Broadmeadows, Keilor Downs, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham.

We want to reassure you that we are keeping a close watch on our Homes that are in proximity to these suburbs and relevant LGAs.

As precautionary measures:

  • Additional screening questions are in place to increase staff awareness of their movements in relation to hotspot locations as a condition of entry into the Homes.
  • Visitors and staff to Allity Homes in NSW must declare they have not travelled to Melbourne in the previous 14 days, if so they will be denied entry.

Noting, South Australia and Queensland are not allowing visitors from Victoria and therefore presents less risk for those states.

As always, we want to emphasise the importance of everyone playing their part to keep the community safe. This includes staying safe inside your own homes if you have guests visiting by maintaining 1.5m between people from different households and keeping visitors to a minimum to help reduce the spread of community infection.

While NSW have reported some new cases this week, there has been no requirement for changes to existing state directives, as such visitor policy in states apart from Victoria will continue to welcome social visits.

In light of what is happening in Victoria, for states that have eased restrictions allowing residents to attend external family gatherings, we cannot stress the importance of keeping your loved one’s safety at the forefront of your mind by limiting their exposure to risk of infection and vigilance with hygiene and physical distancing practices.

You can refer to our website for visitor access updates by region as we receive information from the various health authorities.

For our families in Victoria, we encourage you to stay connected with your loved ones by booking in for the video calls. Please be assured that we will facilitate family visits with compassion and to the best of our ability in accordance with state directives, and in a manner that maintains a safe and COVID-free environment across our Homes.

 

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22 June 2020

As you may be aware, Victoria is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases linked to community related outbreaks, with a majority of new Victorian cases reported to be from large family gatherings. In recent days, COVID-19 outbreaks have even been identified in a handful of Melbourne based aged care homes. Some cases are still under investigation.

This concerning increase follows a period of positive downward trends in the rate of infection experienced across Australia, and serves to remind us of the importance of not being complacent with hygiene and physical distancing practices.

In line with the Victorian government’s decision to suspend further easing of restrictions, and the consideration of locking-down local hotspots, we see a need to continue heightened precautions in our approach. The risk of community infection has proven to remain a threat – particularly to our most vulnerable citizens. The ongoing safety of our residents and staff remains our priority.

Our Homes in Victoria will therefore be tightening their visiting restrictions from 7pm tonight. This means that only Essential visits will be allowed for residents who are:

  • Undergoing end of life care
  • Experiencing extreme emotional and/or mental stress
  • Have a clearly established pattern of involvement from a visitor in providing their care and support as an essential part of their care plan

Essential visitors will be required to complete our Pre-visit checklist and we ask that you monitor your own health status over this critical time and if you feel even mildly unwell, please do not come into the Home, even if the visit is considered essential. During this, hopefully short period until conditions improve, we will be facilitating technology-assisted social visits in the same manner as we were prior to the relaxation of visiting restrictions last month.

No changes are being made to our visitor policy in other states, where we will continue to welcome social visits.

For states that have eased restrictions allowing residents to attend external family gatherings, we cannot stress the importance of keeping your loved one’s safety at the forefront of your mind by ensuring you are limiting their exposure to risk of infection, and maintaining vigilance with hygiene and physical distancing practices.

We have created a page on our website to provide COVID information by Region and will endeavour to keep it current as we receive updates from the various state government health authorities.

As always, we greatly appreciate your support, patience and understanding as we continue to navigate the ever-changing COVID environment. Please be assured that we will facilitate your visits with compassion and to the best of our ability in accordance with state directives, and in a manner that maintains a safe and COVID-free environment across our Homes.

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18 June 2020

A direction was released by SA Health today with changes to conditions of entry into residential aged care homes identifying some changes to what has been in effect.

We welcome the relaxing of the restrictions as a positive move for our residents who can leave the home for social reasons and also receive visits from family members under the age of 16; provided they have proof of having received their influenza vaccination.

Unfortunately, these changes have come without forewarning, and we therefore ask for your patience and understanding as we work with our staff to manage the expected increase in visitors, particularly over this coming weekend.
With the significant relaxing of restrictions, we see a need to continue to be cautious in our approach as the risk of community infection, however small, is always a threat – particularly to our most vulnerable citizens. The ongoing safety of our residents and staff remains our priority.

As such, to assist us in managing the entry screening process and completion of appropriate resident risk assessments, we ask that families contact us in advance to book in your visit or time for pick-up of your loved ones, in line with the processes that are currently in place.

We thank you for your support as we move into the weekend, and please be assured that we will be facilitating your visits to the best of our ability and in a manner that maintains a safe and COVID-free environment across our Homes.

Meanwhile……let’s keep working towards a COVID Safe way of living and not become complacent by staying ever more vigilant, regardless of where you are, with:

Hand washing and sanitising hygiene

  • Respiratory hygiene practices – sneezing and coughing etiquette
  • Appropriate flu vaccination
  • Social distancing at all times
  • Keeping the COVIDSafe App open on your mobile phone

We look forward to welcoming you back into our Homes.

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11 June 2020

Since the first case of COVID-19 in Australia in 25th January, life has progressively changed for everyone from our work habits, family routines, and social interactions to a having a greater awareness of good hygiene practices which hopefully the community will reap the benefits of well into the future – post COVID-19.

For Allity, ‘no news is good news’ as we remain COVID free across our Homes. The risk of community infection is always a threat, and post the rallies held in major cities last week we must be prepared for the possibility that there may be some increase in community cases.

In our last COVID-19 update on 27 May, positive test results were reported in aged care Homes in the Melbourne metropolitan area, fortunately, there are currently no new cases. We continue to stay abreast of updates from these homes, and thank you for your support as we maintain disciplined screening processes across Homes in proximity to the affected area.

We have had some questions in relation to residents being able to leave the Home. In South Australia and Queensland we continue to work under the state directives particularly in relation to restrictions on residents leaving aged care premises. We expect with a continuation of the positive trends, that directions will progressively ease, and will keep you updated as we receive government advice.

We want to reassure you that as we gradually become more confident in the eventual relaxing of visitor restrictions, we have not relaxed our focus on ensuring our Outbreak Emergency Response Plan is effective if the need arises. This includes conducting mock scenarios in selected Homes as part of our response practices.

Keeping you informed

Following the peak of cases in late March to mid-April, Australia has continued to see relatively low numbers of new cases reported daily which has allowed us all to move towards a return to our normal way of life and routines.

As such, we for see less of a need for specific COVID-19 newsletters. However, please be assured that we are committed to keeping you updated with the latest news and any changes that may impact our residents and families as they arise.

We will be preparing to re-introduce our Allity ‘Topicks’ newsletter as a means of providing you with aged care industry specific news, innovation and education. The Bi-monthly newsletter is also a way of making sure you are directed to reliable sources of information when it comes to aged care related issues. We envisage the first Topicks newsletter will be published in July.

Allity Social Media

Another great way of keeping up to date with what is happening across Allity is through our social media channels. We are always looking for more ways of staying connected.

Our official Allity Facebook page and Instagram account were recently opened to the public, which has had a very positive uptake. We invite you to follow / like our page as another way of connecting and sharing the stories from across our Homes.

Our purpose for creating the Facebook page is to provide a platform for positive and constructive conversations, and encourage people to join us in the spirit intended.

Simply click on the icons below to jump onto our Allity accounts.

   

We look forward to having you as part of the Allity Social Community.

Meanwhile……let’s keep working towards a COVID Safe way of living and not become complacent by staying ever more vigilant, regardless of where you are, with:

  • Hand washing and sanitising hygiene
  • Respiratory hygiene practices – sneezing and coughing etiquette
  • Social distancing at all times
  • Keeping the COVIDSafe App open on your mobile phone

Stay well!

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 27 May 2020


As the nation moves into the 3rd week of adopting the government’s 3-Step Framework for a COVID-Safe Australia, each State has released region-specific directives with variations in the speed and conditions relating to the relaxing of restrictions.

In the Prime Minister’s address, he made it clear that any changes to restrictions require a settling-in period to cautiously monitor the impact, particularly in relation to the level of community infection. To date, the infection rate across Australia remains promisingly low.

We are working methodically through our visitor, activities and entertainer policies and the relevant operational processes. This is to ensure they align to each state’s directives, and as such, we request your patience as we implement the necessary controls to ensure this is done safely and sustainably.

In the last few days there have been positive COVID-19 cases reported in aged care Homes in the Melbourne metropolitan area. We are staying abreast of updates from these homes, and ask for your support as we continue to maintain disciplined screening processes across Homes in proximity to the affected area.

As reinforced by all health authorities, underpinning each step of the 3-Step Framework is a COVID Safe way of living and we must not become complacent, this means staying ever more vigilant, regardless of where you are with:

  • Hand washing and sanitising hygiene
  • Respiratory hygiene practices – sneezing and coughing etiquette
  • Social distancing at all times
  • Keeping the COVIDSafe App open on your mobile phone


Allity Social Media

During these COVID-19 times, we are all looking for more ways of staying connected.

We are excited to announce that we have now launched our official Allity Facebook page as well as opened our Instagram account to the public. We take this opportunity to encourage you to follow / like our page as another way of sharing the stories from across our Homes.

Our purpose for creating the Facebook page is to provide a platform for positive and constructive conversations, and encourage people to join us in the spirit intended.

Simply click on the icons below to jump onto our Allity accounts.

        


We look forward to having you as part of the Allity Social Community.

 

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19 May 2020

 

3-Step Framework for a COVID-Safe Australia

A key announcement last week from the Prime Minister was the introduction of the 3-Step Framework that provides a guide for each State to make decisions on the progressive relaxing of restrictions and re-opening of businesses and community activity.
Underpinning each step of the plan is a COVID Safe way of living and maintaining vigilance with hygiene and social distancing critical to staying safe.

Over the next few weeks, our Homes will be reintroducing scenic bus trips and permitting external lifestyle facilitators and entertainers to enter our homes. This must be done mindfully, taking into account the management of social distancing on our buses as well as ensuring all external visitors have their influenza vaccinations. We ask for your patience as we work through the processes to ensure this is done safely and sustainably.

 

Emergency Response Plan

With visitor access to our Homes now relaxed and aligned to the new industry Visitor Code, we have remained steadfast in our preparedness through our Emergency Response Plan.

At the time of writing this newsletter, it was announced that four aged care homes in Melbourne have gone into lockdown today, with residents testing positive for COVID-19 in at least two cases. This is a stark reminder that, we cannot afford to lower our guard in maintaining strict adherence to the current safety policies in place. We will continue to assess any risk to Allity homes from local outbreaks and respond appropriately.

Whilst Allity has not had any cases of COVID-19 in any of its homes or impacting any of its staff, there is possibility that despite our best efforts this may change in the future. Here is what you can expect to happen in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in any of our Homes.

Communication:

Our objective is for families, residents and staff to be informed as soon as possible by an Allity representative. For families, this will be via a text message to each resident’s nominated representative’s mobile phone.

As SMS is the quickest and most direct way of contacting you, we ask that you ensure the Home your loved ones lives in has their nominated representative’s mobile phone contact details on record.

Following the SMS message, we will have a team in place to contact all nominated representatives personally by phone to provide a status update and answer any questions you may have. We will also establish how frequently you would like to be contacted for updates.
It is important that the nominated representative communicates with other family members and/or friends to update them as soon as possible. This will assist the Home in reducing the number of calls staff need to make, so they can focus on activating our outbreak plan.

Visitor Access:

The Home will automatically go into lockdown and Level-3 restrictions will apply where no visitors will be allowed into the Home until such time as it is deemed safe to do so with the guidance of local health authorities. However, we will always maintain a compassionate approach with visit requests.

Regular updates:

After the first 24 hours, we will commence regular daily updates via email as well as via phone calls at the frequency agreed with you. Updates will also be provided on the Allity website accessed through the Coronavirus Update page.

As always, our priority is the safety of our residents and staff in our Homes, by working together we will keep our community safe.

 

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13 May 2020

 

Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19

An industry Visit Code developed by both consumer and provider organisations was released this week to provide guiding principles for visiting aged care homes in a way that minimises the risk of introduction or spread of COVID-19 into the homes.
The key principles of the Code cover:


•   Different ways for visits to occur
•   The length of visits
•   Where visits should be conducted
•   The need for booking systems
•   Additional ways for families to connect – Video conferencing and telephone
•   Legislative requirements of government directives – influenza vaccinations


Allity fully supports the Code and we have reviewed our visitor policies to ensure they align with the principles outlined. The Code will be reviewed on 29 May to address any concerns or issues experienced in its implementation.

While the Code provides guidance to conducting safe visits, it is critically important that everyone is vigilant in taking personal responsibility with practising hand and respiratory hygiene and maintaining physical distancing at all times.

With the progressive relaxing of restrictions, we mustn’t become complacent as the risk of a second wave of COVID-19 infection is highly possible with increased interactions in and around the community. We ask that you continue to work with us in ensuring we are able to facilitate visits whilst maintaining a COVID-19 free environment across our Homes.

 

Aged Care Royal Commission

The Royal Commission (RC) is now calling for submissions from the general public and organisations relating to the impact of COVID-19 on the aged care sector. Aged care recipients, families, supporters, providers and staff are all encouraged to respond.

Allity supports the work of the RC and we believe it is vital that the Commissioners remain well informed and receive balanced constructive submissions upon which to assess the impact of COVID-19 and how the sector has responded.

We would like to encourage as many of you as possible to participate in the Royal Commission’s call out for submissions. Directly hearing about your experience will greatly benefit the objectivity and outcomes of the RC.

You can provide information in any of the following ways:

  • Online - the submission form can be completed entirely online
  • Mail - a printed submission form or write to the RC at GPO Box 1151, ADELAIDE SA 5001
  • Call - 1800 960 711 between 8.30am – 5.30pm ACST, Monday-Friday except on public holidays.
  • Email - ACRCenquiries@royalcommission.gov.au 
  • Send a video or audio recording - the recording must not be more than 25MB. If it is larger you can send it in several parts (in English or language)

 

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8 May 2020

 

Aged Care Royal Commission

The Royal Commission (RC) is now calling for submissions from the general public and organisations relating to the impact of COVID-19 on the aged care sector. Aged care recipients, families, supporters, providers and staff are all encouraged to respond.

Allity supports the work of the RC and we believe it is vital that the Commissioners remain well informed and receive balanced constructive submissions upon which to assess the impact of COVID-19 and how the sector has responded.

We would like to encourage as many of you as possible to participate in the Royal Commission’s call out for submissions. Directly hearing about your experience will greatly benefit the objectivity and outcomes of the RC. You can find out more about submissions here.

You can provide information in any of the following ways:

  • Online the submission form can be completed entirely online
  • Mail a printed submission form or write to the RC at GPO Box 1151, ADELAIDE SA 5001
  • Call 1800 960 711 between 8.30am – 5.30pm ACST, Monday-Friday except on public holidays.
  • Email ACRCenquiries@royalcommission.gov.au
  • Send a video or audio recording - the recording must not be more than 25MB. If it is larger you can send it in several parts (in English or language)

 

COVID-19 Residential Aged Care Testing Scheme

On 1 May, the Victorian Health and Human Services Department released a COVID-19 Testing Program for Residential Aged Care providers encouraging asymptomatic staff to be voluntarily tested. Allity has welcomed this scheme because we believe it reinforces our robust infection prevention and control measures. Requesting staff who do not show symptoms to be tested increases our chances of uncovering infections quickly, so we can mitigate the impact of anyone unknowingly spreading COVID-19.

As part of our commitment to maintaining a healthy and COVID-free environment for our residents and staff, Allity is supporting the Victorian DHSS campaign to undertake additional COVID-19 testing across Victoria.

 

3 Step Framework for COVIDSafe Australia

As we now work towards the government’s staged easing of restrictions, we want to remind everyone that maintaining vigilance in physical distancing and hygiene practices remains crucial to keeping our residents and each other safe.

With a clearer path ahead, we envisage the frequency of changes and news to report via this COVID-19 newsletter will lessen. However, please be assured that we are committed to maintaining our communication with relevant and timely information to keep you updated.

 

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6 May 2020

We take this opportunity to provide an update on the Visitor Policy for our Sydney Metro area homes. As previously noted, we are continually looking at COVID-19 trends within the community and refer to government guidance as key elements of our risk assessment in determining the most appropriate visitor policy at any point in time.

As such, from Thursday 7 May, Essential Visits by residents’ nominated representatives will be permitted at all Sydney Metro Homes in line with other Allity Homes.

Community infection rates in Sydney are now largely contained, excepting the localised crisis at Newmarch Aged Care in western Sydney. We therefore believe it is appropriate to allow limited in-room visits to our homes in the region.

These visits will be ‘Essential’ in nature and will be subject to strict criteria and conditions of entry (see below for details). This is line with the Aged Care Visitor Access Code and our own risk assessment.

We encourage all families in our Sydney metro homes to continue booking in for Social Visits through our 10-4 Wellbeing video calls and window/courtyard visits to stay connected with loved ones during this time.

It is highly recommended that visitors familiarise themselves with the Department of Health’s COVID-19 education resources.

 

What is an ‘Essential’ Visit?

Essential visits are defined as those required to be conducted for residents:

  • Undergoing end of life care
  • Experiencing extreme emotional and/or mental stress
  • Who have a clearly established pattern of involvement from a visitor in providing their care and support as an essential part of their care plan

 

Conditions of Entry

All nominated representatives will be required to:

  • Report to reception and complete and pass the health screening assessment
  • Undertake a temperature check
  • Provide evidence of having received a 2020 Influenza Vaccination
  • Proceed directly to the resident’s room or designated meeting area in the Home
  • Not come into contact with other residents, staff or family members
  • Maintain 1.5m physical distancing rules at all times
  • Practice hand hygiene upon entry to the Home and before entering and leaving a resident’s room
  • Follow respiratory hygiene practices
  • Only visit during visitor hours Monday to Friday – 10:00am-6.00pm (last entry at 4:00pm)
  • Limit visits to ideally no more than 30 minutes with a maximum of 2 hours

 

We ask that you monitor your own health status over this critical time and if you feel even mildly unwell, please do not come into the Home, even if the visit is considered essential.

We also ask for your cooperation in adhering to the ‘essential’ visit definition above and not put pressure on the staff in our Homes for a social face to face visit at this time, but rather use the options that are in place: window and social distance face to face courtyard visits, phone calls and 10-4 Well-being check in Zoom calls.

In addition, we strongly encourage families to wear a face mask during the visit.

 

Process for arranging a visit

It is important that we are able to safely support and manage essential visits in our Homes. To help us make everyone’s visit as safe and enjoyable as possible, there are few things visitors should organise in advance, including:

  • Familiarising yourself with the Pre-visit checklist
  • Calling the home in advance to book your visit during the published visiting hours

Our priority remains the safety and protection of all residents and staff in our Homes, by working cooperatively, we will be able to move forward together.

Visits can only be sustained with everyone’s cooperation and commitment to our processes and conditions of entry.

We look forward to progressively welcoming families back into our Homes and ask for your patience and understanding as we work to implement the new access policies to support safe visits.

 

COVIDSafe App

The government has released its COVIDSafe app. The aim of the App is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by enabling a more efficient and timely way of finding close contacts of COVID-19 cases. The app assists health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

By downloading the app you can protect yourself, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. The more Australians connect to the COVIDSafe app, the safer we will all be.

Download the App

Apple iOS App Store or Android

 

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5 May 2020

This week sees the reintroduction of controlled Essential Visits to most Allity Homes. We take this opportunity to welcome families back and thank you for your understanding and cooperation with the entry conditions and processes. By working together, we will be able to continue providing a safe environment for our residents and staff.

Due to elevated local risk factors, our Sydney Metro Homes remain closed to visitors, except for those visiting on compassionate grounds. We are monitoring and assessing risks on a daily basis, taking into consideration community risk factors, the state government’s decisions on progressive relaxing of restrictions and specifics in the aged care environment.

In the meantime, we encourage families to continue to book in for Social Visits with loved ones through our window and courtyard visits or Zoom calls.

We will update you as the level of risk changes and look forward to reintroducing Essential Visits to these homes too in the near future.

We highly recommended that all Social and Essential Visitors familiarise themselves with the Department of Health’s COVID-19 education resources as well as our Pre-visit Check list for Essential Visits.

 

COVID-19 Residential Care Visitor Access Code

Last Friday, the government announced that a voluntary ‘visitor access code’ is soon to be released.

The objective of the Code is to facilitate safe and regular communication between residents and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to apply a compassionate and consistent visitor policy that continues to minimise the risk of COVID-19 while providing innovative on-site visiting solutions to maintain the mental health of residents.

It provides principles around how residential aged care providers should create solutions to facilitate connections between families and residents. These include in-room Essential Visits for compassionate and care support reasons, safe Social Visits such as video calls, window and courtyard visits, and when visits should not be permitted.

The draft Code has been provided for public consultation by consumer advocacy organisations and aged care provider peak bodies. It is envisaged the Code will be finalised by Monday 11 May. Allity has had the opportunity to review the draft and supports the principles on which it is based.

 

Aged Care Royal Commission

With COVID-19 dominating the focus of the aged care sector, consumers and the government, the Royal Commission into Aged Care (RC) has also had to adapt, with all workshops and public hearings postponed since February.

Given the magnitude of the issue, the RC is now calling for submissions from the general public and organisations relating to the impact of COVID-19 on the aged care sector. Aged care recipients, families, supporters, providers and staff are all encouraged to respond.

Allity supports the work of the RC and we believe it is vital that the Commissioners remain well informed and receive balanced constructive submissions upon which to assess the impact of COVID-19 and how the sector has responded.

We take this opportunity to thank everyone for your responses to our Family survey. We have received over 1,350 submissions with an overwhelming majority of respondents happy with the regularity of communication and confident that Allity is doing the right things to protect your loved ones from the potential spread of Coronavirus.

Your responses have provided important insights that have helped us to adapt, assess risk and make decisions during a difficult time. You have also given our staff encouragement as well as offered us constructive feedback (both positive and negative) on how we have handled this health emergency.

We would like to encourage as many of you as possible to participate in the Royal Commission’s call out for submissions. Directly hearing about your experience will greatly benefit the objectivity and outcomes of the RC. You can find out how to make a submission here.

 

Mother’s Day Sunday 10 May

A gentle reminder to ensure you drop off your Care Packages early in the lead up to Mother’s Day. If you wish to send flowers, please take into account the type of flowers and how they are packaged to maintain their freshness and ease of delivery by staff.

We also envisage our Social Visitor video calls, window and courtyard visits will be in high demand, and therefore, ask families to prepare in advance by booking in for face-to-face window and courtyard visits with as much notice as possible.

Our Dining and Lifestyle teams have been working hard developing ideas to make this day the best it can be for all of our families, and in particular to make this a special day for all the mums out there who have inspired and influenced us to be our best selves….wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Allity.

 

COVIDSafe App

Download the app so you can protect yourself, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. The more Australians connect to the COVIDSafe app, the safer we will all be.

Download the App

Apple iOS App Store or Android

 

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30 April 2020

We take this opportunity to thank everyone who submitted a response to our COVID-19 Family Survey. Within 24 hours of publishing the newsletter we received over 650 responses with an overwhelming 95% of respondents confident that Allity is doing the right things to protect your loved ones from the potential spread of Coronavirus.

Rest assured that protecting your loved one remains our priority and we promise to keep you informed of what we’re doing every step of the way.

As communicated in previous newsletters, we made a commitment to inform you of any change to the current visitor access policy by 1 May. We also noted that risk assessments may result in varied approaches to visitor access between our Homes or across regions.

Irrespective of any changes to visitor policies, all aged care access restrictions remain in place as they relate to overseas travel, influenza vaccination, feeling unwell or having had close contact with anyone confirmed with COVID-19.

It is highly recommended that visitors familiarise themselves with the Department of Health’s COVID-19 education resources.
We would now like to provide you with the details of changes to Allity’s visitor access policy, which will take effect from 10:00am Tuesday 5 May.

 

Revisions to Visitor Access Policy

Allity’s visitor policy has always sought to balance the physical and emotional health of our residents and staff.

As part of our risk assessment, we have continued to look at COVID-19 trends within the community, federal and state government guidance, aged care industry advice and the overseas aged care experience.

 

Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Regional NSW

In line with the reduced risk of community infection in these regions, from 10.00am Tuesday 5 May essential visits by residents’ nominated representatives will be reintroduced for all Allity Homes in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. Regional NSW Homes – Coastal Waters, Gosling Creek, Calare, Bayside NSW and Riverwood will also move to the new visitor access policy.

The restricted visits will be essential in nature and will be subject to strict criteria and conditions of entry (see below for details). This is line with AHPPC advice and our own risk assessment.

 

Sydney Metro Area

The COVID-19 cluster in Western Sydney continues to escalate and for that reason, Homes in the Sydney metropolitan area will remain closed to all visitors, except for those visiting on compassionate grounds. 

Current access restrictions will remain unchanged due to the ongoing crisis at Newmarch Aged Care in the west of Sydney and the sixth successive day of increases in community cases of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor and assess these risks on a daily basis, taking into consideration community risk factors, the state government’s decisions on progressive relaxing of restrictions and specifics in the aged care environment.

We will update you as the level of risk changes and hope to be able to permit essential visits to these homes too in the near future.

We encourage all families in our Sydney metro homes to continue booking in for our 10-4 Wellbeing video calls and window/courtyard visits to stay connected with loved ones during this time.

 

Essential Visits – Definition and Process

The decision to amend visitor policy has not been made lightly and acknowledges that a significant proportion of our families have requested that we continue with our current policy.

The processes and controls considered in making the decision to relax visitor access policies have been stringently considered in terms of their effectiveness in supporting our Homes’ ability to continue maintaining safe and COVID-19 free environments.

 

What is an ‘Essential’ Visit?

Essential visits are defined as those required to be conducted for residents:

  • Undergoing end of life care
  • Experiencing extreme emotional and/or mental stress
  • Who have a clearly established pattern of involvement from a visitor in providing their care and support as an essential part of their care plan

 

Conditions of Entry

All nominated representatives will be required to:

  1. Report to reception and complete and pass the health screening assessment
  2. Undertake a temperature check
  3. Provide evidence of having received a 2020 Influenza Vaccination
  4. Proceed directly to the resident’s room or designated meeting area in the Home
  5. Not come into contact with other residents, staff or family members
  6. Maintain 1.5m physical distancing rules at all times
  7. Practice hand hygiene upon entry to the Home and before entering and leaving a resident’s room
  8. Follow respiratory hygiene practices
  9. Only visit during visitor hours Monday to Friday – 10:00am-6.00pm (last entry at 4:00pm)
  10. Limit visits to ideally no more than 30 minutes with a maximum of 2 hours

We ask that you monitor your own health status over this critical time and if you feel even mildly unwell, please do not come into the Home, even if the visit is considered essential.

We also ask for your cooperation in adhering to the ‘essential’ visit definition above and not put pressure on the staff in our Homes for a room face to face visit at this time, but rather use the options that are in place: window and social distance face to face courtyard visits, phone calls and 10-4 Well-being check in Zoom calls.

In addition, we strongly encourage families to wear a face mask during the visit.

 

Process for arranging a visit

It is important that we are able to safely support and manage essential visits in our Homes. To help us make everyone’s visit as safe and enjoyable as possible, there are few things visitors should organise in advance, including:

  • Familiarising yourself with the Pre-visit checklist;
  • Calling the home in advance to book your visit during the published visiting hours

We believe the time is right to reintroduce progressive but tightly controlled visitor access policies that balance the wellbeing of residents with minimising the potential impact of COVID-19. We must remain cautious and as such reserve the right to change our visitor policy at any time.

Our priority remains the safety and protection of all residents and staff in our Homes, by working cooperatively, we will be able to move forward together.

Visits can only be sustained with everyone’s cooperation and commitment to our processes and conditions of entry.

We look forward to progressively welcoming families back into our Homes and ask for your patience and understanding as we work to implement the new access policies to support safe visits.

 

Family COVID-19 Survey

Your feedback is important to us.

Simply select and click on the Home location below that pertains to you and complete a 2 minute questionnaire, we also encourage you to provide us with any additional feedback.

If you would like someone to follow up with you, please don’t forget to provide your name and contact details. The survey will be open until Tuesday 5 May.

 

New South Wales:

Bass Hill    |   Bayside   |    Beechwood    |    Brentwood 

Calare    |    Coastal Waters    |    Gosling Creek   |    Greenwood

Pemulwuy    |     Pendle Hill    |    Redleaf Manor    |    Rosemore    |    Riverwood    |    Willandra
.....................................................

Queensland:

Keperra Sanctuary    |    Sylvan Woods    |    Villa Serena
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Victoria:

Avonlea    |    Bayside    |    Camberwell Green    | Claremont Terrace

Glendale    |    Greenview    |    Highwood Court

Lexington Gardens    |    Lilydale    |    Medina Manor    |    Montclaire

Princeton View    |    Riddell Gardens    |   Tannoch Brae    |    Templestowe Manor    |    Trevi Court

.....................................................

South Australia:

Carinya    |    Charles Young    |    Hillside    |    Holly

Little Para    |    Marten    |    Ridgehaven    |    Ross Robertson

Smithfield    |    Somerton    |    Walkerville

 

COVIDSafe App

This week the government released its COVIDSafe app. The aim of the App is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by enabling a more efficient and timely way of finding close contacts of COVID-19 cases. The app assists health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

By downloading the app you can protect yourself, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. The more Australians connect to the COVIDSafe app, the safer we will all be.

Download the App

Apple iOS App Store or Android

 

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28 April 2020

Picking up from our previous newsletter, we aim to release details of a revised Visitor Policy on 1 May.

We believe this is the right time to do so, in light of positive trends continuing within the community, each state government’s decisions to progressively relax restrictions, all the while still keeping a close eye on the risk in the aged care environment. The risk assessment may result in varied approaches to visitor access between our Homes or across regions.

As mentioned last week, in combination with advice from health authorities and international trends, your feedback plays an important part in our decision-making, particularly in relation to visitor access policies that support maintaining safe and COVID-19 free Homes.

We would now like to invite you to participate in Allity’s Family COVID-19 Pulse Survey. The aim of this survey is to gain an understanding of the level of confidence you have in the approach we have taken in protecting your loved ones, as well as the quality of care that we are providing in the COVID-19 environment.

How to participate:

Simply select and click on the Home location above (30 April Update) that pertains to you and complete a 2 minute questionnaire, we also encourage you to provide us with any additional feedback.

If you would like someone to follow up with you, please don’t forget to provide your name and contact details. The survey will be open until Tuesday 5 May.

 

Mother’s Day: Sunday 10 May

With Mother’s Day coming up, we would like to remind you to book your Care Package drop off taking into account the 48 hour quarantine period. We ask for your patience and understanding as our staff work hard in the lead up to make sure all care packages received are appropriately quarantined and cleaned before they are given to your loved ones.

We envisage our video calls, window and courtyard visits will be in high demand, and therefore, we ask families to prepare in advance by booking in for face-to-face window and courtyard visits with as much notice as possible.

 

Influenza Vaccination Reminder: 1 May

With only days to go, our visitors and volunteers will have received a reminder letter that anyone wishing to enter any aged care premises (subject to access restrictions) must have proof that they have had the influenza vaccination.

This applies to staff, visitors, health practitioners, volunteers and others (for example, cleaners, tradesman, gardeners, and maintenance staff) Ref: Australian Government Department of Health FAQs

We recommend that everyone actively request a certificate once you have had the vaccination.

 

COVIDSafe App

This week the government released its COVIDSafe app. The aim of the App is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by enabling a more efficient and timely way of finding close contacts of COVID-19 cases. The app assists health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

By downloading the app you can protect yourself, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. The more Australians connect to the COVIDSafe app, the more effective it will be.

Download the App

Apple iOS App Store or Android

 

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24 April 2020

There has been a lot of discussion this week about visitor access restrictions to aged care homes, in particular stemming from comments made by the Prime Minister.

We have received many emails, phone calls and responses to our most recent E-newsletter expressing your feelings about the precautionary measures that we have in place at Allity to protect the health of all our residents and staff. A large majority of these responses have requested Allity keep current access policies in place. We are extremely grateful for the overwhelmingly positive response from you regarding our approach.

We do however acknowledge that some families do not share this sentiment. We ask for your understanding as we progressively navigate the path towards visitor access in a controlled way when it is safe to do so.

Allity’s number one priority is to avoid a clinical care crisis that some providers in Australia are now undergoing as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak. We also take lessons from the horrors being experienced overseas in aged care facilities.

Nevertheless, Allity will always take a compassionate approach to visits as we currently do for any of our residents in end of life care.

We also encourage all families to stay connected with loved ones by continuing to book in for face-to-face window and courtyard visits, our 10-4 Wellbeing video calls and staying in touch with the activities happening in the Home through each Home’s weekly update.

 

Roadmap for Visitor Policy Changes

Our aim is to work together with residents and families to implement a process that enables safe visits that minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection to an acceptably low level.

Each day, Allity’s COVID-19 Taskforce reviews updates from the Department of Health; advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Committee, your feedback as well as trends across international aged care sectors.

In addition, daily resident wellbeing check-ins are conducted across Allity Homes. The combination of all these resources contribute to our daily assessment of the risks associated with relaxing precautionary measures.

Whilst being conscious that it will be some time before the community can return to a COVID-19 free environment, we appreciate that the level of risk is thankfully reducing in most parts of Australia.

We are currently working on a roadmap to enable safe visits that will initially factor in:

  • Screening processes on entry;
  • Proof of influenza vaccination in line with Government directives;
  • Scheduling of visits with nominated representatives;
  • Hygiene and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols to control levels of exposure for residents and staff;
  • Visitors understanding COVID-19 education resources made available and advocated by the Department of Health

We are aiming to release details of our revised Visitor Policy on 1st May.

 

Anzac Day – 25th April

With this important day of Observance coming up on the weekend, many public ceremonies for 2020 will have been cancelled but does not take away from the significance of the day that we should all privately commemorate.

The service at the Australian War Memorial will be nationally broadcast, to enable everyone to watch from our own homes. There will also be a range of other commemorative activities that will be broadcast throughout the day which our Homes will be scheduling for residents.

Read PM Message

We take this opportunity to acknowledge our service men and women, and remember the bravery, sacrifice and contribution they have made in serving our country – Lest we forget.


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21 April 2020

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak Allity has taken the actions it deems necessary to protect the health and safety of our residents. We have been entrusted with the care of 3,500 of the most vulnerable people in our communities. It is a privilege and a duty that we take with the utmost seriousness.

On the 23rd March we took the decision to restrict all visits to our homes with the exception of end of life situations. This was in addition to implementing a range of other measures to protect our residents. Having seen the devastation that COVID-19 has caused in nursing homes throughout Europe and the US we felt compelled to act. It is a measure of the success of these policies that Allity has thankfully not recorded any cases of COVID-19 in any of our homes.

Implementing these measures has enabled our residents to continue to live as normal a life as possible within our homes. They are able to move freely around and enjoy the use of common areas and outdoor spaces subject to standard 1.5m physical distancing requirements. The only residents who are required to remain in their rooms are those who have recently admitted to the home or those who develop flu like symptoms – in line with standard healthcare regulations.

Our Lifestyle Services Coordinators and their teams have been adapting traditional activities and programs so that residents can maintain their social connections, and enjoy the activities they are used to, albeit in a slightly different way. This includes introducing technology to enable regular connections between residents and their loved ones.

You may have seen Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comments today about aged care facilities. Specifically he suggested aged care providers should be permitting regular visits. This is something we all want to see happen but we do not believe it is yet the right time.
With increasing COVID-19 infections in aged care homes in Australia, we feel we need to continue to act with an abundance of caution in relation to visitor access.

Just today a new case was confirmed in a retirement home in Sydney where one of the resident’s family members is a confirmed case.

Simply put, it is too late to put restrictions in place after an outbreak impacts a home. We believe the precautionary measures we have in place today are in the best interests of the health and safety of our residents and staff at this time.

As the Prime Minister said, “We are on the road back and we want to stay on the road back. And to do that we have got to move carefully.”

Allity will continue to regularly review and re-evaluate our visitor policy in line with community risk. Hopefully, community COVID-19 cases will continue to fall, and we will be able to progressively relax some of the precautionary measures as and when it is safe to do so.

Until then, we appreciate your patience and support as we continue to work hard to keep our community safe.

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17 April 2020

This week brings reassurance that there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported in any Allity Homes or affecting any of our staff. We continue to remain vigilant in our adherence and commitment to actions and practices that matter most in keeping our residents and staff safe.

Hear from Glen Hurley, Allity Chief Operations Officer as he sums up the events of the last few weeks and the importance of not being complacent.

Glen Hurley Allity COO