31st July 2020

Re: Update for Melody Park and Victoria Point – Residents, Clients, Family and Friends

Dear Residents, Clients, Family and Friends,

Thank you to each of you for your patience and understanding as we have been working our way through the latest events and information being provided by the Queensland Chief Health Officer. Today the Chief Health Officer has issued a new Aged Care Direction for Queensland providers which is essential split into two segments. The first relates to facilities that are deemed to be non-restricted and the second for those that are restricted. In short, our Victoria Point facility has been deemed a restricted facility whereas the Melody Park facility a non-restricted.

A copy of the Aged Care Direction can be found at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/aged-care and a more plain language information sheet here at: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/public-health-directions/aged-care.

In summary the above documents state that the following directions are now in place for restricted facilities:

  • No personal visitors (end of life visits will still be allowed)
  • Anyone required to be on site (staff, contractors and volunteers) must wear a surgical face mask
  • Residents cannot leave the facility other than for receiving health care, attending a funeral or for an emergency or for compassionate reasons.
  • We must work with staff to reduce as much as possible them working across multiple facilities. Where they do, they must wear PPE in accordance with Australian Guidelines.

The above directions are in force from today and remain in force until the end of the public health emergency or until they are revoked or replaced.

As mentioned above our facility at Nerang (Melody Park) has not been identified by the Queensland Government as restricted however we hold concerns for our residents at this site given its proximity to the Logan area which is of course where this outbreak has occurred.

To ensure that we are not acting arbitrarily we have consulted with a number of our residents at Melody Park and have asked them whether they would prefer for us to remain locked down for the next week until more information is available or to resume visits. Their response was overwhelmingly that they would prefer that we take a more cautious approach and to keep our facility locked down until next Friday and to then re-evaluate based on the information available to us.

As such we will be applying all the above restrictions to our Melody Park site until next Friday the 7th of August.

Whilst some of the above were already in place, I want to reassure you that all the above directions are in place at Melody Park and Victoria Point as of today.

There are several general directions that existed prior to this update and these continue to apply to all persons seeking to enter an aged care facility. The Aged Care Direction states that a person must not enter an aged care facility if:

  • during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia; or
  • during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person has been in a COVID-19 hotspot; or
  • during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19; or
  • the person has a temperature equal to or higher than 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection; or
  • the person does not have an up to date vaccination against influenza, if the vaccination is available to the person.

Further to the above we must also ensure that we collect and keep for a period of 56 days the name, phone number, email address and date and time of the visit for the purposes of contact tracing.

Whilst the above specifically relates to what we must do for our residential aged care facilities we are also putting in place a requirement for staff and contractors to wear single use surgical face masks when visiting our home care clients and retirement village residents.

We are taking precautions to ensure that our customers and staff remain as safe as possible however we are also aware that some of our home care clients may prefer to temporarily put their services on hold. If you currently receive in home support from our Supported Living team and you would like to put your services on hold please contact Jenny Gilbert our Supported Living Coordinator.

As you would understand the situation in Queensland is still relatively new and the Queensland Government directions that have been made are seeking to respond quickly to avoid a replication of the sad and unfortunate events in Victoria.

Thankfully many of these directions are directly inline with the planning that we had already put in place and as such we support the current conservative approach to dealing with this potential outbreak in Queensland albeit we are erring on the side of additional caution as it relates to our Melody Park site.

We understand the importance of families remaining in contact and as such we encourage you to make the most of our visits through the glass or via our online meeting apps to continue keeping in touch with your loved ones whilst the ability to have in person visits is on hold.

Your support as we implement the above is very much appreciated and I thank you in advance for your understanding and for working with us as we work through these challenges.

Yours sincerely,

Eric Anderson