17th March 2020
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19 : MESSAGE FROM CEO
At present we are facing a unique situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and I wanted to assure you that as an organisation we have been keeping up to date with all of the information at hand. Our priority has always been and will continue to be to keep those in our care as safe as possible and it is for this reason that I write to you with news about what we are doing at present to achieve this.
As you will be aware the COVID-19 virus has already impacted Australia and it is fair to say that it is no longer contained to those that were originally in isolation. Like you we are concerned about the impact that this virus could have on our residents who are part of the demographic that have been identified as most at risk from this virus. It is for this reason that we have been considering and planning our response with a view to exploring how we can prevent rather than react to the virus reaching our residents.
As of the 18th of March the following initiatives will be in place:
- All of our staff, volunteers and essential contractors will have their temperature taken when they arrive at one of our facilities and if that temperature is outside of the normal range they will be asked to leave.
- Access to our facilities will be restricted to the front door only and all contractors will be asked to fill in their details in our visitors registration book to ensure we have a way to contact you should any outbreak occur.
- All sites will be restricted to essential care givers only which means that no visitors will be able to enter our residential aged care facility other than special exceptions such as for compassionate reasons.
- We are implementing an ability for resident family and friends to make contact with our residents using video conferencing (more details to follow soon).
- Last Friday we notified all staff that anyone returning from overseas must not return to work within 14 days of their return to Australia
- We have ordered additional personal protective equipment for our staff to utilise should one of our residents be confirmed as having COVID-19
- Mandatory re-training of all staff and contractors of our infection control, outbreak and hand washing procedures has been commenced
- Our scheduled cleaning of common areas such as our reception and lounge areas has been increased
I want to be clear that these measures have not been taken because someone within our facilities has already contracted the virus, rather it is because we want to minimise as far as possible the opportunity for the virus to be introduced to our site. Should you be granted permission to visit one of our sites please remember that you should only do so if you are well. If you have any concerns at all that you may be coming down with something please see your general practitioner. I would also remind you about the importance of personal hygiene and regular hand washing which has been shown to be very effective in reducing the spread of this virus.
It is our hope and prayer that the above preventative measures will be effective in preventing any harm coming to our residents but we are aware that this will only be successful where everyone is committed to playing their part in the steps we are taking. Further we would again remind you that if you are not feeling well or just a little off colour to follow the public health directions and that you remain away from our site until such time as all symptoms have passed and you have been cleared by your General Practitioner.
I ask for your patience, support and compliance with the above measures as we work through this situation. This decision has not been taken lightly and we understand that it may cause some concern or frustration however we are absolutely committed to protecting those within our care from this very real threat and as such will do all we can to achieve this.
We will continue to assess the situation and review any Federal and State Government requirements and adjust our plans accordingly. Further we will continue to provide updates as circumstances change. If you would like us to continue updating you directly and you have received this letter via the post please contact us with your email address or alternatively keep an eye on our website www.arplus.org.au for further updates and announcements. You can assist us by ensuring that you notify anyone that you are aware of that visits our facilities of the new entry restrictions.
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact our site Care Manager either by phone or email. Thank you for your understanding as we work together to ensure the safety of the people we love and care for.
Eric Anderson CEO