With an aim of establishing some level of visitation standard across all Residential Aged Care sites in Australia the Government, Peak Industry Bodies and Aged Care Providers recently developed an Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) also provided updated advice on the restrictions on entry into residential care facilities on Friday 19 June 2020.
In addition to the new Code and AHPPC recommendations, providers are also required to meet the SA Health Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities) COVID 19 Direction 2020 under the Emergency Management Act 2004.
Based on all three documents the key changes to the recommended advice on visitor restrictions at Kindred Living residential sites include:
- Permitting children of all ages to visit residents. (Children who appear unwell will NOT be permitted).
- Visiting services such as hairdressers, diversional therapists and all allied health professions can visit a residential facility particularly where these services cannot be provided through other models of care.
- No restrictions on the number of hours a spouse or close relative can spend with a resident however for the time being there will be a maximum of two visitors per day. Additional visitors may be permitted if a resident is palliating.
- Residents can leave the facility to attend small family gatherings.
- External excursions for groups of residents is still not recommended by AHPPC.
- Only visitors and staff who have been vaccinated against influenza may enter a facility. Entry will NOT be permitted to the facility if vaccination evidence is not available.
Existing COVID-19 screenings will continue of all people entering a facility.
All Visitors will be asked a series of questions to confirm:
- They have not been unwell in the last 7 days or been aware of any unusual symptoms including fever, night sweats/chills, cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, or gastro.
- Not been overseas, interstate in a restricted state or on a cruise ship in the last 14 days.
- Have not been in contact with a person or persons who have been confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 or Influenza within the past 14 days.
- Temperature will be taken at entry. If a visitors temperature is 38 C or higher than the visitor will not be permitted to enter the facility and will be advised to contact their doctor.
Continue to practice good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene by:
- Washing your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.
- Covering your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- If unwell aim to avoid contact with others.
- Where possible remain 1.5 meters from other people.
We request all visitors continue to ring and make a visitor booking before arriving at the facility which will allow staff to allocate time to complete COVID-19 screenings thoroughly and ensure the number of visitors is spread out evenly throughout the day.
Visitors are still required to maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres between residents and for the time being visitors are still only permitted in designated visiting areas such as a resident’s bedroom, sunroom or garden areas. Visitors are not permitted in lounge, dining rooms or other communal areas of the home.
As always our focus is ensuring the health and wellbeing of residents and our staff and we appreciate your continued support in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and Influenza at all of Kindred Living’s sites. In the event new cases of COVID-19 or an outbreak of influenza is identified in Whyalla we may need to re-implement some or all of the previous visitor restrictions.
(The full Code can be downloaded from: https://kindredliving.com.au/aged-care-visitor-access-code/ )
If you want to know more about the steps we are taking to manage COVID-19 or Influenza please ring the Administration Centre at Kindred Living on 8644 9899 or speak to the Residential Site Manager at your facility.