Coronavirus (COVID-19) visitor update to Residential Aged Care
The Department has recently updated there guidance to visitors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable groups.
Limits on visits to vulnerable groups
Do not visit aged care facilities if you have:
- Returned from overseas in the last 14 days
- Been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Have a fever or symptoms of a respiratory infection such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
- From 1 May you must have had your influenza vaccination to visit an aged care facility (proof of vaccination will be required to gain access)
TTHA condition of entry:
- Making sure visits are kept short (20 minutes)
- No more than two visitors, including doctors, at a time per resident per day
- Visits to occur in a resident’s room, outdoors, – there will be no visiting in communal areas
- No school groups of any size are allowed to visit residential aged care facilities.
- No children aged under 16 years are permitted to visit residential aged care facilities except in special circumstances.
- In addition to this, visitors will be encouraged to practise social distancing, including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser prior to entry and when leaving the home
- All visitors will be temperature checked, and must be below 37.5 degrees
Indoor gatherings restrictions:
- All group activities have been suspended
- Group dining will cease from 25th of March 2020 & residents will receive meals in their room
Should I continue to visit older friends and relatives?
If you don’t absolutely have to go to support a resident in care, please don’t. It’s best to keep in touch via phone and video calls, send postcards, photos or artwork, or film short videos to share.
This will limit your exposure to COVID-19 and your chances of accidentally spreading it to the other older people in your life. If you regularly visit someone living with a cognitive impairment, considering other ways of maintaining social contact will help reassure individuals who may feel anxious about possible changes to their day to day life. You can also contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
What else can I do to protect my loved one in aged care?
Even if you are feeling well, it is important to take steps to prevent the spread of this virus.
Good hygiene and taking care when interacting with other people is the best defence for you and your family against COVID-19:
• Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
• Disposing of tissues immediately they are used, into a dedicated waste bin and washing your hands
• Washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet, and when you have been out to shops or other places
• Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers, where available
• Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces you have touched
•Where possible, stay 1.5 metres away from others as part of social distancing
• If you are sick, avoiding contact with others.
• You can drop off items at reception for your loved one.
If you start to feel unwell, phone the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or your GP who will be able to provide you with further advice. Older people aged 70+ or people with chronic conditions are able to seek medical support from their GPs through bulk-billed telehealth (videolink), and telephone services. Examples of possible video applications include FaceTime and Skype. Medical practitioners must be satisfied that the services they use to video link with their patients meet current standards and laws regarding privacy and information security.
When will these restrictions finish?
These are temporary changes and will be relaxed on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and State and Territory Chief Health Officers, however you should plan for these changes to be in place for a number of months.
Is there a chance that these restrictions will become harder?
The COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving health emergency. The situation is changing by the day – and further changes to restrictions will be made in line with medical advice.
For the latest advice, information and resources, go to www.health.gov.au
Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
If you have concerns about your health, speak to a doctor.
If you, a family member or friend needs crisis support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Thankyou for your understanding during these difficult times, if you require further clarification or support in anyway please do not hesitate to contact the home on (03) 8720 1333