Important Information About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

April 2, 2020

Important Information About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Welcome to the Southern Cross Care WA, Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page. Here you will find information about the COVID-19 pandemic, what we’re doing to help protect the health of our residents, clients, families and staff, and what you need to do as a member of the Southern Cross Care WA community.

Our response to COVID-19

The Southern Cross Care WA Board, Executive and Senior Management team are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and have established an Emergency Pandemic Planning Committee and implemented an Action Response Plan based on the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19):

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/australian-health-sector-emergency-response-plan-for-novel-coronavirus-covid-19

In response to COVID-19, some of the initiatives we have implemented across our organisation include:

  • Daily communications being sent to staff, based on the information and updates being provided by the Australian Government and WA Department of Health.
  • All staff, contractors and volunteers who have travelled anywhere overseas or interstate recently must inform the organisation and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of return.
  • Staff unwell with fever or respiratory symptoms are being asked to stay at home and seek medical advice.
  • General visitor restrictions at all SCC residential care sites as of 18th March 2020.
  • Existing infection control policy, procedures and measures at all residential care facilities confirmed and strengthened. Additional PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) ordered, including masks, hand gel, gowns, gloves, etc.
  • A specific procedure for managing COVID-19 has been implemented and training is currently being rolled out.
  • Infection control / hand hygiene / COVID-19 training has been rolled out and made mandatory for all care staff (to reinforce existing training).
  • SCC has engaged a cleaning contractor to conduct High Touch Point (HTP) cleaning across our residential facilities (in addition to current cleaning routines).
  • Letters sent to residents, families and next of kin of our clients residing in our residential care facilities advising them of SCC’s response to COVID-19 and providing them with information on the virus (and govt. website).
  • Letters sent to all Southern Plus home care clients advising them of precautions and asking them to inform Southern Plus if they are at a higher risk of having the virus (been overseas or have had contact with a COVID-19 carrier).
  • Phone calls have been made to all Southern Plus home care clients to discuss their current situation and to determine if they need additional home care or support services.
  • Letters sent to SCC retirement village residents advising them of precautions and SCC’s response.
  • Gatherings (such as church, BBQs) have ceased, along with non-essential visits/movements between sites.
  • Video calling via skype has now been implemented at every residential care facility, allowing residents to remain connected to family while visitor restrictions are in place.

All of these activities are helping to ensure that our organisation is well prepared to respond to COVID-19, and minimise any impact it may have on our provision of high-quality services to our clients and residents.

General Visitor Restrictions

The organisation has adopted a no visitor policy at all of our residential aged care sites from the 18th of March. Exceptions will be on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Site Manager, primarily on compassionate grounds. If a visit is agreed, the visitor will be required to ‘sign in’ and additionally declare they will comply with the following conditions of entry:

  • Have not returned from any overseas or interstate travel in the past 14 days.
  • Have not knowingly been in contact with a person or persons who have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 or influenza.
  • Have not been caring for someone with a respiratory illness.
  • Are aged 16 years or older.
  • Agree to follow the below requirements:
    • Strict hand hygiene practices
    • Remain in the room of the resident they are visiting
    • Follow any instructions from staff during the visit

While visitor restrictions are in place, assisted video calling via Skype is available for residents to maintain communication with family and loved ones.

Under the direction of the Federal Government, all staff and visitors to Aged Residential Care Facilities from the 1st May 2020 must have received the influenza vaccination.  Further information will be provided to residents, clients and their loved ones regarding how this requirement will be implemented.

Video Calling with Residents

During these times of uncertainty and as we continue restricted visiting in all of our residential care sites, we understand it is important that our residents remain connected with family and significant others. To help that connection, Southern Cross Care has implemented an initiative whereby family and friends can schedule assisted video calling, via Skype with residents.

If you wish to participate, and are not already doing so, please download the free Skype app and register for an account. Once you have done this, please contact the relevant Site Manager with your Skype username and preferred contact times so we may help your loved one schedule a video call with you. Importantly, this service is in addition to family and friends being able to phone our residents at any time. For more information about this initiative, please speak to the relevant Site Manager.

Cessation of non-essential services

The following non-essential services have been ceased at all SCC sites:

  • Non-essential contractors. Any essential contractors entering the facility must be screened as per the requirements above.
  • Non-essential volunteer services.
  • Non-essential visits by SCC staff / central office staff / service providers.

Residential care admissions

Urgent admissions at our residential care sites will continue, however, restrictions are in place.  SCC has special requirements around new admissions from hospitals, and new admissions from other locations will be required to isolate for 14 days when they first arrive at the facility. These restrictions have been put in place to protect all current residents and minimise the risk of COVID-19 being introduced to any of our residential facilities.

Southern Plus Home Care Services

Southern Plus Home Care Services have also implemented several strategies (in addition to the above) to mitigate the risk associated with COVID-19. These include:

  • Staff ensuring that they follow infection control and hand hygiene procedures and undertaking additional training as required.
  • Clients being sent letters providing them with information about COVID-19 and asking them to contact Southern Plus if they may be at risk of having the virus.
  • Home Care staff to contact clients prior to a visit (where appropriate and determined on a case by case basis) to ask about any possible client exposure to COVID-19 .
  • All other organisational wide measures are being followed.

How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect those who are most at risk, it is important that you take the recommended steps from the Department of Health to protect yourself and others.

  • Good hygiene – includes washing your hands, covering your coughs and cleaning your home and workplace.
  • Social distancing – practise social distancing in public, at home and in public.
  • Self-isolation – means staying at home for 14 days. Understand who must self-isolate and how to self isolate.
  • Public gatherings – understand the limits that apply to essential gatherings and non-essential gatherings.
  • Face masks – if you have COVID-19, wearing a face mask can help to prevent spreading it to others. If you are well, you do not need to wear a face mask. There is little evidence that widespread use of face masks in healthy people prevents transmission in public.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19

Further Information:

Please refer to Department of Health website (link below) for regular aged care-specific updates:

Contact Us:

Residential Care – contact your Facility Manager

Home Care – contact your Wellness Partner

All other enquiries – 1300 669 189

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