VISITATION UPDATE – 4 NOVEMBER 2021

November 4, 2021

Advice to Residents & Families – COVID-19 Update

VISITOR RESTRICTIONS

Dear Residents and Families,

NSW Health has updated its advice in regard to visiting residents in aged care facilities.

Visitors

From 1 November 2021 residents are permitted to have two fully vaccinated visitors aged 12 years and over plus two children aged under 12 years per day.

• Visitors aged 12 years and over must have received a second dose of a COVID vaccination at least 14 days prior to their visit.

• Children under 12 years are permitted to visit provided they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated person.

• Where visits include a child under 12 it is strongly recommended, where possible:

– the visit is in an outdoor area

– the child should wear a mask

– where possible arrange for Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) prior to a visit.

• Visitors will be required to complete COVID-19 screening prior to entry including checking in with the Service NSW app.

• Visits should not occur in any inside communal areas.

• Visiting hours will be between 9:00am and 4:00pm every day. (If you need to visit outside of these times, please call the facility manager to make alternate arrangements).

• Visitors will be required to wear a surgical mask at all times when they are in the facility (masks will be provided at entry) and may be directed from time to time to wear additional personal protective equipment including gowns, gloves, face shields etc.

• Up to two unvaccinated people may visit a resident for an end of life visit. They must always wear a surgical mask and the visit must be solely inside the resident’s room.

Visitors must not enter an RACF at all if they:

• have COVID-19 symptoms
• are a close or casual contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 unless they have completed their isolation and testing requirements.
• From 1 November 2021:
– are a fully vaccinated person who has been overseas in the last 7 days. Additionally, they must show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken on or after day 7 following their arrival.
– are any other person who has been overseas in the last 14 days.
– are waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

Residents

Residents are permitted to leave the facility and attend family gatherings or for other reasons but must abide by the current Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021.

It is strongly advised that residents wear a mask at all times when they are out of the facility. Residents will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment and infection control advice if they leave the facility. If a person cannot wear a face mask because of a disability, physical or mental health illness or condition, they must carry either;

• a medical certificate or letter signed by a registered health practitioner (such as a doctor) or a registered NDIS provider or
• a statutory declaration.

Please contact the facility manager to discuss arrangements regarding residents leaving the facility.

NSW Health have advised that bus outings are not permitted at this time.

For further information, please visit the following NSW Health website for regular updates:

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/aged-care.aspx

The advice from NSW Health is constantly being updated and I would encourage you to regularly check for updated information.

We will continue to provide opportunities for staying in contact with residents via electronic means (Skype, Zoom etc) and I am aware that many families have taken up this option and residents have reported enjoying these virtual visits. Please contact the facility to book a time for a virtual visit if required.

The Board and Management are aware that this is a difficult time for families and are regularly reviewing policies and practice. I encourage you to use our feedback channels if you wish to comment on any issue.

Once again, the safety & well-being of our residents and staff is our number one priority and your compliance with these requirements will greatly assist us in maintaining a safe environment for all. The engagement and willingness of families & residents to comply with recent changes has been overwhelmingly positive and I would like to once again thank everyone for their understanding and cooperation during these difficult times.

I would once again remind you that the Australian Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission have produced several useful resources outlining what families and residents can expect during a COVID-19 outbreak and I would encourage you to access these resources through the Commission’s website. The link to the site is:

https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/consumers/covid-19-consumer-resources#how%20to%20stay%20safe%20from%20covid19

If you have concerns regarding any aspect of our policy regarding these restrictions, please contact our team. We will do our best to ensure that you stay connected with your loved ones.

In addition, residents and their families or representatives who need support or have any concerns can contact the Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN) on 1800 700 600 or Senior Rights Service on 1800 424 079.