19th June 2020

Re: Aged Care Directive Update

Dear Family and Friends,

Two days ago, the State Government released Aged Care Direction number 6. This direction represents a significant change from the previous directions hence this update. The Chief Health Officer has altered their approach so that rather than being worded as enforcing restrictions it is now focused on management of contact between residents and non-residents. That is not to say that they have simply relaxed all the previous restrictions rather the tone is softening even though there are still specific requirements for operators and visitors alike.

Several restrictions have now been removed and these are:

  • Children under the age of 16 are now able to visit
  • No specific restrictions with respect to the time spent at a facility visiting a resident (previously 2 hours)
  • No restriction on the number of visits to a resident per day (there remains a limit of 2 people per resident at one time)
  • Residents are now able to leave a facility to attend small family gatherings.

The following requirements remain in place under Direction number 6:

  • Requirement to conduct temperature testing (no greater than 37.4 degrees Celsius)
  • Assess whether the person has been to a COVID-19 Hot Spot in the last 14 days
  • Not allow access to a person that has not been vaccinated for influenza (where they are medically able to)
  • No more than 2 visitors at a time for each resident
  • Residents not to leave the facility other than for reasons specifically mentioned in the direction.

As you would appreciate whilst these changes certainly provide for increased opportunity for our residents to have more visitors it does not relieve our organisation of the need to continue screening and recording all those that visit our sites. Indeed, for those now going to visit family gatherings we will have an increased requirement to record who our residents have had contact with in case of any further outbreaks.

Given there is no advanced warning about these directions from the Chief Health Officer we are delaying implementing them until our systems and processes are setup to support them. As such we will be implementing the following from Wednesday the 24th of June:

  • Allowing children under the age of 16 to commence visiting where accompanied by an adult and after undertaking the usual screening process (including providing an influenza vaccination certificate).
  • Enabling residents to attend small family gatherings via a booking system. This system will include a requirement for records to be made as to who is attending, whether they have had any contact with anyone with flu like symptoms and if they have been to a COVID-19 Hot Spot in the last 14 days.
  • Taking bookings for longer visits at our facility where that will be the only visit for that resident on that day.
  • Subject to overall booking availabilities enabling more than one visit per resident per day

To keep our other residents safe, we will be requiring residents who have not been vaccinated for influenza and that leave to attend a family gathering to self-isolate on return for 5 days.

Our booking system continues to be an integral part of ensuring we can manage the number of visitors arriving at site each day. Aside from the check-in process all rooms are thoroughly cleaned after each visit which as you would appreciate is in addition to our housekeeping teams’ normal duties. As such, please ensure that prior to visiting our facility that you have booked with our reception team during our normal business hours Monday through to Friday.

As mentioned above, the requirement for all persons that are medically able to have the influenza vaccination is still in effect.

I trust you have found the above information clear and if you would like to review the latest direction you can find it here: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/aged-care

Thank you for your ongoing support of our organisation and the team.

Yours sincerely,

Eric Anderson, CEO.