Princeton View Update

 

21 September 2020, 2.30pm 

There is no change to Friday’s update with test results from last Thursday returning negative for all residents and staff.

We have been informed by the DHHS that testing will be held tomorrow – Tuesday 22-September at the Home.

We will continue to work with the Department this week to assess and develop a plan for our Home to progressively move towards its normal operations in a safe way. All decisions will be made with advice from health authorities before any changes are actioned.

We are extremely pleased to be in this position, and will ensure you are updated with any changes once we receive approval from the DHHS for implementation.

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17 September 2020, 5.00pm

Testing was completed today for residents and staff, it is anticipated that we will receive results in the next 24-48 hours.

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16 September 2020, 2.30pm

There is no change from yesterday’s update with results from round eight returning negative for all residents and staff. It has been extremely encouraging having our testing rounds trending in this way.

In closing the eighth round, there remains a total of twenty-seven residents tested positive since the start of the outbreak. We sadly have had seven residents pass away, we are caring for sixteen residents in the impacted area of the Home and four residents currently in hospital.

We have increasing numbers of our regular staff coming back to work after completing their self-isolation period and having received DHHS clearance. Since the start of the outbreak, we have had twenty-one Allity staff and fourteen external agency staff tested positive.

A reminder that the DHHS will be conducting testing tomorrow (Thursday 17-September) for residents and staff and we will be in touch as soon as results start to come through.

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15 September 2020, 2.30pm

We are extremely pleased to report that all residents and staff have returned a negative covid result for this round. The DHHS has informed us that we will be conducting further testing on Thursday 17-September.

We are aware of the inconvenience and fatigue that the multiple testing regimen causes for our residents and families, and genuinely appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding. We are working closely with all health authorities and their requirements to get the Home back to normal as soon as possible.

A heartfelt thank you to our families who have continued to send through encouraging emails expressing your words of appreciation to our team here at Princeton. It has been an anxious time for everyone so your thoughts are much appreciated and has really given everyone a much needed boost.

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14 September 2020, 2.30pm 

A very short update with the DHHS conducting the eighth round of testing for residents and staff today. We will be in touch with families as soon as the results start to come in.

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13 September 2020, 1.30pm

All results have now been returned from the last round of testing completed on Friday.

We are extremely pleased and thankful to report that all residents have returned negative results for covid. Unfortunately an agency staff member has tested positive and we are working closely with Alfred Health to conduct contact tracing with immediate effect.

In closing the seventh round of testing, there has been a total of twenty-seven residents tested positive since the start of the outbreak. Sadly, we have had six residents pass away, we are currently caring for sixteen residents in the impacted area of the Home and five residents have been transferred to hospital.

Any staff who return a positive test result is required to immediately self-isolate and provided support by the DHHS. This includes provision of any clearances to return to work. Since the start of the outbreak, we have had twenty-one Allity staff and fourteen external agency staff tested positive.

A reminder that the DHHS will be conducting testing tomorrow (Monday 14-September) for residents and staff and we will be in touch as soon as results start to come through.

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12 September 2020, 1.30pm

The majority of results from yesterday’s testing have come through for residents and staff, and so far are all negative. We hope to have all results back within the next 24 hours prior to Monday’s scheduled testing.

It is with much sadness that we advise today, of the passing of a resident overnight who had tested positive for covid. We have been in contact with the family, and our thoughts and offer of support are with them at this extremely difficult time.

As a priority, we are closely monitoring residents for any clinical and/or symptomatic changes multiple times a day with particular attention on those living in the covid-impacted area of the Home. We are working closely alongside Alfred Health and Ramsay and continuing to maintain high staffing levels to support our resident’s care needs.

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11 September 2020, 3.30pm

A very brief update with testing completed at the Home today. As always, we will be contacting families as soon as the results start to come through.

Additionally, the DHHS has advised that there will be another round of testing booked in for Monday 14-September.

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10 September 2020, 3.30pm

There is no change to yesterday’s update, with all the results coming back negative for residents from Tuesday’s sixth round of testing in the Home. We have been advised that further testing will be conducted tomorrow (Friday 11-September) for residents and staff.

With the round of negative test results for residents, we have had questions from the daily calls with families as to what happens next.

At all times, we are directed by the DHHS as to the number and frequency of tests. While the clear round for residents is a most promising situation to be in, the department requires all staff to also be clear before considering any change in the outbreak status.

Having one Allity and three agency staff test positive from the last round, and who were all working in the covid affected area of the Home, we can expect further testing will be required.

We are pleased to see a continuing stream of our regular staff coming back to work as they are progressively cleared by the DHHS after spending time in self-isolation. The familiar faces will be most welcomed by our residents and staff across the Home.

We do acknowledge multiple rounds of testing can be a trying and exhausting process for all of our families, residents and staff, and want to thank everyone for your understanding and support during this time.

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9 September 2020, 4.30pm

We take this opportunity to thank our families who we were able to reach yesterday as a follow up to our CEO’s update to discuss any additional questions or concerns that you may have had. We are extremely humbled by and appreciative of the feedback and overall positive sentiment from our families regarding how we are managing the outbreak in our Home.

We have already received all the results back from yesterday’s sixth round of testing in the Home. I’m very pleased to say that all residents have tested negative with no new resident cases identified. With regards to our workforce we have had three agency workers and one staff member test positive; they have immediately gone into self-isolation.

We recognise that any positive test results among staff will give cause for concern. We have been working closely with Alfred Health personnel in the Home and closely adhering to their infection prevention guidelines. Ramsay Health staff are also on-site to assist with PPE spotting, training and competencies.

Clinical monitoring of all residents remains a priority. With the support of the Alfred and Ramsay we are maintaining high levels of staffing to support the care and needs of our residents – particularly those living in the covid-impacted area of the Home.

In conjunction with clinical monitoring, we are maintaining a focus on the emotional and mental health of our residents which we know is alleviated through regular connection with family members. We have therefore further reviewed and improved our process for Zoom calls, including bringing in additional devices and better scheduling to facilitate calls in a more efficient and reliable way.

As always, we thank you for your patience and ongoing feedback.

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7 September 2020, 4.30pm

The results from the fifth round of testing have now all been returned. Unfortunately we have received one additional positive test for a resident living on the Ground Floor of the Home. One additional staff member also tested positive and is now self-isolating.

This means we have had a total of 26 residents test positive since the start of the outbreak. Sadly, four of those residents have passed away and our thoughts are with their families at this very difficult time.

15 covid positive residents are currently being looked after within a demarcated area of the home with support from Alfred Hospital and Ramsay Health. Whilst it is Allity’s strong preference for all covid positive residents to be cared for in hospital we are required to abide by the direction of the DHHS and PHU when it comes to either transferring residents to hospital or caring for them in the Home.

We await directions from the DHHS as to the next round of testing for our residents and staff.

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6 September 2020, 1.00pm

The fifth round of testing was conducted across the Home yesterday and results have started to come through this morning. So far, of the 169 residents and staff tested, 164 have returned a negative result with the remainder still pending.

There were some queries in yesterday’s daily calls as to the discrepancy in numbers announced by the media and those that we report in our updates. This has been, and remains the case for reported numbers across all aged care providers in general. There can often be a delay of a few days before all relevant parties can reconcile numbers – and therefore an ensuing small discrepancy.

The numbers reported in the media from the DHHS refers to ‘linked’ cases which includes individuals who are household members or social friends of impacted staff members and have not had any direct contact with Princeton. There can also be temporary discrepancies for the small number of staff or residents who may test positive outside of testing conducted in the Home – and whose results we don’t receive directly.

It is important to note that for the purpose of thoroughness, we require all staff who are not self-isolating or displaying symptoms to attend every testing round. Staff not showing up for testing may be stood down if there is not a legitimate reason for non-attendance.

Following up from yesterday’s update, we have made further progress with our partnership with the Alfred Hospital and Ramsay Health. They will now be providing additional clinical staff, expertise and resources to help us deliver close to a hospital level of care to the covid positive residents in the Home. This is a welcome development as no aged care provider is equipped or designed to be able to offer this level of specialist care on a stand-alone basis. They will also continue to advise and support on infection control best practice.

As always, we thank all of our families for your patience and understanding as we do everything we can to resolve the outbreak and return Princeton to normal operations. 

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5 September 2020, 1.00pm

A brief update today with no change to our previous status. The fifth round of testing was conducted for residents and staff today. We anticipate the majority of results will come through by Monday, and will ensure we contact families as soon as they are received.

There were no new queries that came through our daily calls yesterday.

As you may be aware, we are in communication on a daily basis with various agencies that have been delegated to provide direction and support during Princeton View’s outbreak.

Since the start of the outbreak on 19 August, there has been an increase in the number of organisations designated by the different levels of government and within them the various tiers of representation across the respective agencies. These include:

1. Department of Health at the federal level
2. Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
3. DHHS at the Victorian state level
4. Local PHU and their various specialist agencies which include Ramsay and the Alfred Hospital

Much of our time has been spent ensuring we are meeting the requirements of each agency through daily calls, administrative reporting and navigating the order of priorities across all agencies and multiple stakeholder expectations. As much as possible, we are facilitating this centrally to minimise distraction from the critical operations of keeping the Home operating to the standards expected and in keeping our residents safe.

We again want to express our sincerest thanks to all of our families for your trust and patience.

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4 September 2020

There is no change to yesterday’s update. We await our next round of testing that will take place tomorrow - Saturday 5th and will be in touch with famlies as results are received.

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3 September 2020, 4.30pm

There is no change to yesterday’s update. The DHHS have just confirmed that the next round of testing will be this Saturday 5th September.

As we complete our daily calls with families, the Outbreak Management Team and the team on ground at Princeton review any themes or commonly asked questions raised in our discussion with families. We will continue to share these in our daily updates with you.

Emergency Leave Provisions

The question of emergency leave continues to be an area requiring greater clarity. We have continued individual discussions with families to ensure we have all the specific details required for each request to then seek approval from the relevant health authorities on how to proceed.

We are committed to facilitating the wishes of families having worked through a comprehensive clinical consultation of resident’s ongoing care needs. Given the Home’s outbreak status however, any final decisions are subject to the current Directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.

A detailed information leaflet has been released by the Department of Health on Emergency Leave that provides the principles in the COVID-19 environment. We suggest families who had any questions around the process and payment of fees download the Coronavirus Emergency Leave information brochure.

Clinical Monitoring of Residents

Maintaining close clinical monitoring of all residents is a daily priority that is completed multiple times during each 24 hour period. There have been questions raised as to whether the family calls on resident status result from face to face resident assessments by our clinical staff.

While you may not receive a call from the actual clinical staff member who did the face to face assessment, all daily resident clinical updates are reported and documented based on the person to person observation and assessment of each resident. All of our Home’s clinical monitoring is completed in this way.

Staffing

Being part of a network of Homes, we are fortunate to have staff from other Homes who have willingly elected to assist Princeton View during its covid outbreak. We are extremely grateful to a team of Carers, Nurses and Lifestyle staff who will be arriving at Princeton in the coming days to assist with the care of our residents. They will be based at Princeton until further notice and will have met all covid screening criteria prior to commencing work in our Home.

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2 September 2020, 2.30pm

All results from the last round of testing have now been received. Regretfully, we have returned positive results for an additional four residents. Two staff have also tested positive and are now self-isolating.

We acknowledge that the covid positive results coming through from each testing round will be concerning for families. The testing completed to date remains within the expected incubation period of the virus of up to 14 days. Timing will vary across individuals.

A dedicated contact tracing team is assigned to immediately investigate any close contacts of newly identified covid positive staff to ensure they go into precautionary isolation.

Regardless of the infectious cycle of the virus, we maintain strict infection control practices across the Home which importantly include a pre-emptive resident cohorting plan. A resident relocation plan has been in place for the Home in preparation for any additional positive results. This ensures that any positive residents can be located in a separate area to those who are negative.

We want to reinforce and reassure you that all precautions have been in place since the commencement of the outbreak. In addition to the stringent cleaning regime across the Home, additional deep cleaning over and above what has been scheduled has been conducted in the last 24 hours as well as increasing the complement of cleaning staff and shifts.

We continue to work closely with teams from Ramsay Health and the Alfred Hospital who are directing efforts on best practice PPE utilisation and infection control. This includes some of their staff being based at Princeton to assist.

Maintaining close clinical monitoring of any changes to our residents is also a priority and undertaken multiple times during the day. We continue to hold daily reviews with the Home’s clinical team and Allity’s Senior Nursing Director so that we can best keep you up to date with any changes that occur.

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1 September 2020, 2.00pm

Results from yesterday’s testing have started to come through. As always, we will contact families as soon as possible after their results are received.

Through our daily calls with families, the question of emergency leave continues to be raised. We understand that there are families who want to exercise the emergency leave option. We have had individual discussions with families and have sought advice from the relevant health authorities on specific cases.

While we are committed to facilitating the wishes of families having worked through a comprehensive clinical consultation of resident’s ongoing care needs, we must emphasise that any final decision is subject to the current Directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.

We acknowledge that it is an extremely challenging and anxious time for many families and want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to keep our residents and staff safe. Please don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns with us on our daily calls.

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31 August 2020, 4.30pm

Round four testing was conducted today for residents and staff at the Home. As always, we will contact families as soon as the results start to come in.

It is with much sadness that we advise of a resident passing yesterday with COVID-19, which means we have lost three residents to this virus. We share in the distress and grief of all our families, and the heart-break of having our residents lose their life to this virus. Our thoughts are sincerely with you during this difficult time.

Maintaining a sufficient and stable workforce to care for residents remains a critical component of our COVID-19 Plan. This has been challenging since staff who test positive as well as those deemed close contacts have needed to self-isolate and unable to work. We have therefore been supplementing our workforce with agency staff.

We are coming up to the time where some of our staff who have been in self-isolation are able to come back to work in the Home having been given the clearance from the DHHS. We now have a list of staff who will be returning to the roster. This is good news, as it means we will have less reliance on agency staff and residents will see a return of familiar faces.

We sincerely thank all of our families for your understanding and patience during these very difficult and troubling time. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do to support you or your family members during this time.

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30 August 2020, 1.00pm

We have now received all results back from the third round of testing. Unfortunately this round in total has returned positive tests for an additional three residents who are all located in the covid impacted area on the ground floor. Nine additional staff have also tested positive including five agency workers.

Questions have been raised in relation to the frequency of testing and what can be expected. The DHHS determines when testing is to be conducted. The first three rounds of testing lies within the average fourteen day incubation period for the virus, however there have been instances where this can be longer. As at the time of this update, we are in day twelve of the outbreak period.

We are now awaiting confirmation from the DHHS as to the next testing date for residents and staff.

Following on from our daily calls yesterday, we would like to provide some details on the monitoring of our residents mental and nutritional health at a time where our residents’ regular routines are experiencing such disruption.

Many of our families will already be familiar with Supportive Aged Care Service’s social workers who are able to connect with residents and families via Zoom to assist in supporting the mental and emotional health of our residents. We do strongly encourage families to utilise this service as well as booking in regular Zoom wellbeing calls with your loved ones to stay connected in a safe way under the current challenging conditions.

With a change in the way we are presenting our dining services, we are aware that while meals are still prepared in accordance with nutritional guidelines, under the circumstances, residents’ may not have their normal appetite for meals, which has the potential to result in unplanned weight loss.

To mitigate this, Mohan Gyanwali, our head chef has been working closely with our Corporate Executive Chef, Senior Nursing Director and ‘Leading Nutrition’ to develop meals that contain extra protein and carbohydrates that stimulate and improve nutrition and dining experience when under lockdown.

Emergency Leave

Understandably, the question of emergency leave continues to be raised at our calls. In yesterday’s update, we outlined the process and considerations that need to be taken into account. However in our call with the Department of Health yesterday, they have given a strong verbal direction that it is considered a public health risk for anyone to be taking emergency or social leave from the Home at this time. We believe this is best discussed with families on an individual basis. If you have any concerns in regard to your loved ones staying in the Home, please do not hesitate to discuss this with us at your next daily call.

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29 August 2020, 1.00pm

The results from the last round of testing are slowly coming through, and we are contacting families as we receive them.

Unfortunately we have had confirmation that an additional resident in the covid positive area of the Home has tested positive. A staff member who was not displaying any symptoms also returned a positive result and is self-isolating.

During our daily calls with families, there have been some questions raised that we would like to share with everyone around taking residents out of the Home and the clinical care of residents who have tested positive.

Emergency Leave

The decision to take a loved one out of the Home remains with the family and the resident. We understand this to be a particularly important consideration where a home is experiencing an outbreak. The Department of Health has released specific information in relation to this, defined as Emergency Leave

If you wish to take your loved one out of the Home, it is vital that the family has a detailed understanding of the ongoing care needs of the resident, which in some cases can be quite complex. This should be done through a comprehensive consultation with the clinical team at the Home as a vital part of your decision-making process.

It is also important to note that a resident cannot be taken out of a Home while they have a pending test result. In the event that you take up the Emergency Leave provision, you will not be able to bring your loved one back into the Home until the DHHS declares the outbreak to be over. During this time, if your loved one becomes unwell, they will need to be transferred to hospital to be cared for.

Caring for Residents who are covid positive

Our residents who have tested positive for covid are cared for in a demarcated area of the Home with dedicated staff assigned to that area only.

All residents undergo enhanced clinical monitoring multiple times throughout the day to ensure we are immediately aware of any health status changes for every resident. The results of each monitoring session is recorded, and on a daily basis each resident’s reports are reviewed by our Senior Nursing Director centrally, together with the Home’s clinical leads.

The issues that may come out of the daily review sessions include the potential need for transfer to hospital depending on observance of key clinical indicators. Please be assured that any decisions will always be made in consultation with family and the relevant health authorities.

The processes we have in place ensure that during your daily calls with the Home, we are able to discuss any changes and/or interventions required to meet the care needs of residents if and when changes occur. In some cases, you may receive several calls throughout the day if required.

We acknowledge that not being able to visit loved ones can be distressing and cause concern. We strongly encourage all of our families to take the time during your daily calls to discuss any questions you may have.

Dining

As mentioned in yesterday’s update, we do apologise for the temporary disruption to our dining service which has since been resolved. Mohan and our kitchen team are now back in place.

As always, we thank you for your patience and understanding during this anxious time. We are committed to doing whatever is necessary to contain the virus and return our Home to normal operations as soon as possible.

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28 August 2020, 4.00pm

There are no changes to infection numbers to report with the third round of testing underway today for all residents and staff.

There has been a lot of activity across the Home over the last 48 hours, particularly in and around additional support provided by various health authorities. This includes clinical services support from Ramsay Health, attendance by a cleaner educator and the introduction of ‘PPE Spotters’ as a new initiative implemented by the Victorian State government just this week.

The Home is well positioned regarding two of the most critical areas during an outbreak – staffing and PPE supplies. A review of our roster and filled shifts over the coming days has confirmed a stable workforce. Our PPE supply is well stocked with regular deliveries from the government stockpile supplemented by Allity’s central supplies as needed.

Dining Update

We have taken on the feedback from residents in relation to the single use utensils that replaced our normal cutlery and crockery at the start of the lockdown. As a standard infection control protocol, single use items for dining are introduced during any infectious outbreak to limit cross contamination. However with the cohorting plan in place, we have requested the DHHS review whether a return to our normal utensils in the unaffected areas of the Home – Levels 1 and 2 is possible.

You may also be aware that external catering was brought in today. While we acknowledge that this may not be a popular option for our residents, our position is always to be over-cautious in doing what is necessary to protect our residents and the Home from any further potential infection.

We were investigating an identified close contact to ascertain whether any kitchen staff might have been required to self-isolate. We are pleased to confirm that they have been cleared and normal dining service will resume over the weekend.

Please accept our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience and disruption caused by the changes being implemented across our Home. Our aim is to get Princeton View back to our normal operations as soon as is possible for our residents by working together with health authorities and exercising absolute vigilance in our emergency response plan practices.

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27 August 2020, 4.00pm

There are no changes from yesterday’s update with the next round of testing for residents confirmed by the DHHS for tomorrow (Friday 28-Aug), and staff to immediately follow.

Our ongoing focus is to ensure the continuation of enhanced clinical monitoring of all residents particularly for any symptoms no matter how slight. This is vital in pre-empting any need to relocate residents across the affected and unaffected areas of the Home, and if required preparation for hospital transfers.

We understand this is an extremely distressing time for our residents and families as we work through the testing protocols directed by the DHHS. Please accept our sincerest thanks for your understanding as we do everything possible to contain the spread of the virus and keep our residents safe during this challenging time.

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26 August 2020, 4.30pm

We have now received all results back from the second round of testing. Unfortunately a further six residents and five staff have tested positive.

All positive residents are in the same localised area of the ground floor. We have undertaken further cohorting on the ground floor to continue to minimise risk of infection spread by separating positive and negative residents. This is an imperfect science given how the virus’s incubation period works – we have to be careful not to move negative residents who may be incubating the virus to where there is a risk they could infect others.

The virus’s varying incubation period and how it affects different people is also why it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of a home’s outbreak. A number of residents and many of the staff members who have tested positive at Princeton remain asymptomatic.

Continuing yesterday’s comments around dining experience, I wanted to address some concerns around our residents’ food. Our own chef has been working in collaboration with our corporate executive chef and our clinical team to develop meals that contain extra protein and carbohydrates that stimulate and improve nutrition and dining experience when under lockdown. The team will also be introducing high energy food treat bags with traditional sweets and muffins that we know our residents enjoy and will compliment a balanced diet plan.

I would like to apologise to anyone who has been affected by the trouble with our telephone system over the past 48 hours. An attempt to improve phone access for people wanting to call the home, inadvertently had the opposite impact. We understand how stressful this would have been at such a critical time and are truly sorry for any distress caused. We have spoken to Telstra and believe the problems have now been resolved.

We want to reassure you that we will continue to update you on any developments as they occur and that any queries regarding your loved one should be raised in your daily call.

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25 August 2020, 4.30pm

Results from the second round of testing have started to come through and we are calling families as they do so.

We continue to plan for the prevention of further spread of the virus in what is a dynamic environment. Physical demarcation of areas of the Home to temporarily separate covid positive and potentially infectious residents from those who are negative and asymptomatic is key. If your loved one is identified as someone who needs to be relocated, we will be contacting you to discuss what this will entail.

 As part of our cohorting strategy, and to reduce the risk of cross-infection, staff are strictly dedicated to either covid-impacted or covid-free areas of the home.

We have received some queries about the dining experience under lockdown conditions. We appreciate there is dissatisfaction with food being served using single use plates and cutlery. Unfortunately this is an infection prevention requirement from the health authorities. We are currently exploring whether there are any options to mitigate this.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. 

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24 August 2020, 4.00pm

All staff test results from the first round of DHHS testing have now come through. Unfortunately three further staff members have tested positive, meaning a total of six staff members are currently self-isolating with contract tracing continuing.

We are very sad to report that the two residents who had tested positive and were being cared for in hospital have passed away. Our thoughts are with their families at this most difficult of times.

Upon direction from the DHHS, a second round of testing for residents and staff was conducted today. Results are expected within the next 24-48 hrs and we will contacting families with the results as soon as they come through.

To reinforce infection control practices within the Home, we have employed hallway monitors to assist in gently directing wandering residents back to their rooms. In addition, security guards with 24hr coverage have been recruited to screen & monitor all individuals entering the Home through designated access points. In particular they will be stringently controlling access to the covid-impacted area of the home.

There has been a necessary increase in waste disposal related to the use of PPE. Please be assured that this waste is being disposed of safely and responsibly to minimise the possibility of spreading the infection. Allity has a national contract with a large waste management company that facilitates this.

We have recently received some queries around the ability to take your loved one home temporarily. This can be achieved through the ‘emergency leave’ process, provided they have a current negative test result.

If this is your wish, please discuss this on your daily call so that you are clear on the ongoing care needs of your loved one which will need to be continued while they are away from Princeton View. Please note your loved one will not be able to return to Princeton View until the outbreak is declared officially over by the health authorities. More information can be sourced here in relation to the government’s information on emergency leave.

We continue to conduct our regular check-ins with residents and want to remind families that a good way to stay in touch and connect with loved ones is through booking Zoom calls by calling the Home directly and making a request through our helpful administrative staff.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns in relation to what is happening in our Home or with your loved one, please don’t hesitate to discuss this on our daily calls together.

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23 August 2020, 3.00pm

All resident test results from the first round of DHHS testing have now come through. There is no change from yesterday’s update with a total of 10 residents testing positive. The eight positive residents in the home are all located reasonably close together on the Ground Floor of the Home.

Three staff members have also tested positive. They have immediately self-isolated and contract tracing is being undertaken.

One of the most important daily tasks is now to conduct enhanced clinical monitoring of all residents across the Home, in both the covid-impacted and unaffected areas. This is to ensure we are pre-emptive in recognising any early symptoms of covid, however slight, and can plan actions such as relocating residents within the Home, or preparing for potential hospital transfer if appropriate.

As previously noted, if we believe that moving a resident is the best thing to do, we will contact you beforehand to discuss this and answer any questions that you may have.

The DHHS has notified us that the next round of testing will be conducted tomorrow (Monday 24 August).

As always, if you have any questions or concerns in relation to what is happening in our Home or with your loved one, please don’t hesitate to discuss this on our daily calls together.

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22 August 2020, 3.00pm 

The majority of resident test results from the first round of DHHS testing have now come through, with families being called as we receive the results.

Unfortunately, we have been notified that eight residents have returned a positive covid test. This is in addition to the two residents who initially tested positive and are being cared for in hospital. All residents who have tested positive are currently located reasonably close together on the Ground Floor of the Home.

We recognise this will cause considerable concern for our families and therefore want to address some vital operating practices that will take priority in the coming days.

Resident cohorting

Containment of further spread of the virus is an imperative and this will be managed through a process of physical demarcation of areas of the Home in conjunction with enhanced clinical assessment of residents.

The purpose of these actions is to identify, and as needed, temporarily separate covid positive and potentially infectious residents to a designated area of the Home. If your loved one is identified as someone who needs to be relocated, we will be contacting you to discuss what this will entail.

Importantly, staff will be stringently dedicated to either covid-impacted or covid-free areas of the home to minimise the risk of cross infection.

Stable staffing

Ensuring we have the right number of staff on shift at any time who are trained in the correct use of full PPE is essential in protecting everyone in the Home. Each day’s roster is reviewed in advance, as well as the days following to ensure sufficient staff are available and that cohorting of staff is maintained to prevent any potential for cross infection.

In the last 24 hours, we have been in contact with government and private agencies to arrange supplementation of any staff required. This will cover where our own staff have been required to go into self-isolation or opted to not work due to living with vulnerable relatives.

Staff are required to only work at one site and all staff are health screened prior to the commencement of each shift.

Government liaison and internal clinical governance

There are three scheduled daily meetings in place:

  1. An internal Outbreak Management Team to oversee all critical outbreak practices including workforce protection and PPE. This includes Princeton’s leadership team together with Allity head office senior management;
  2. Clinical Governance oversight to review and monitor every resident at Princeton for risk and symptoms no matter how slight; and
  3. State and Federal health authorities liaison, including the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to keep all parties up to date, discuss practices and report any issues

The purpose of all three daily meetings is to ensure Princeton View has the support and direction required to contain the spread of the virus within the Home and support our return to normal operations as soon as possible in a safe manner. An overarching focus is on maintaining a high standard of care and supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of all residents during the outbreak.

Testing for Residents and Staff

The DHHS determines the timing and frequency of covid testing for residents and staff. This takes into account the variability in incubation times for the virus which typically range from 2 to 14 days. As a general rule, testing will be conducted every three or four days until a stable situation is reached with no more identified positive cases.

Residents who test positive for covid

Allity’s strong preference is for any residents who have tested positive to be transferred to hospital to ensure that appropriate care is provided for them. This also helps protect the health and safety of all our residents in the home. The decision on whether to transfer a resident ultimately lies with local government health authorities, who will make the decision on a case-by-case basis.

We hope that the information above provides you with a better understanding of what you can expect to happen over the coming days. More detail will provided as the situation develops.

If you have any further questions or concerns in relation to what is happening in our Home or with your loved one, please don’t hesitate to discuss this on our daily calls together.

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21 August 2020, 5.30pm

Testing for all residents and staff was completed today by the DHHS. We expect to receive the results over the next 24-48 hours, and we will be contacting families once results are made available to us.

We await the consolidated results of this first round to understand the nature of the outbreak in the home and what the appropriate next steps will be. This may include temporary relocation of some residents within the home to cohort any positive cases within a confined area, thereby minimising the risk of the virus spreading. If this is the recommended approach we will discuss the situation with any affected residents and their representatives ahead of any moves.

We have been advised that a second Princeton View resident has tested positive whilst in hospital. This resident lives in close proximity to the resident who first tested positive. They were transferred to hospital due to underlying health issues where they remain undergoing care.

At this time there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Home.

Two areas of concern that have receiving wide media attention are staffing and the availability of PPE.

Princeton View has stable staffing across our Home at this time. The situation is reviewed daily by a central Outbreak Management Team (OMT) to ensure we have our rosters filled as well as looking into the days ahead. This is of particular importance as we have practices in place with staff dedicated to their particular area of the home so as to reduce the likelihood of an infection spreading.

At the core of our Infection Control practices is the correct use of PPE and importantly the availability of supplies as and when we need them. We have our own stock securely in place here at Princeton View that is being supplemented by both a central Allity supply that can be delivered to us within 24 hours, and further contributions from the government stockpile.

We would also like to voice our gratitude for the support received from family members over the last couple of days. Your patience and concern not just for your loved one, but for the dedicated staff who provide their care has been of great encouragement.  

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20 August 2020, 4.00pm

In keeping with the Department of Health’s advice, Princeton View, like all aged care homes across Australia, has a risk management planin place for COVID-19. 

In addition to our usual processes and protocols for infection prevention and control, we have taken extra measures to protect the health and safety of our residents and employees. This includes all employees being required to wear masks at all times when working since 13 July 2020.

Despite these additional safety measures, on 18-August, a resident showed symptoms of a cough and was immediately isolated from other residents in the Home. A COVID-19 test was conducted which unfortunately returned a positive result on 19-August. The resident has been transferred to hospital and is now being cared for there.

We have taken all necessary precautions and placed our Home into Precautionary Lockdown with our COVID-19 emergency response plan. All staff are now in full PPE.

Contact tracing is underway to ascertain close contacts.

The local PHU and the Department of Health and Human Services have been contacted and will be providing direction and guidance to the Home on the next steps to ensure any potential risks are managed effectively. This includes when testing of all residents and staff will take place.

We have had confirmation from the DHHS that testing for residents and staff will be conducted Friday 21st August.