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Regis Family Update: COVID-19 prevention and support

I would like to thank you for your continued support and understanding as we manage the risk of COVID-19. This is a difficult time for all and I can assure you our teams are working very hard to keep your loved one as safe and comfortable as possible.

You will have noticed in the media that Australia is making excellent progress in containing the virus. This has been achieved mostly by restricting people’s movements and mandating social distancing requirements.

Regis took some additional measures to ensure that elderly or vulnerable people in our homes were as safe as possible. Most importantly, we implemented Stringent Access Controls to restrict the movement of visitors, volunteers and contractors. We are taking this time to plan when and how we will be able to re-open our homes and we continue to closely monitor the Australian data, expert advice and overseas experience.

I encourage you to look after your mental and physical health by taking the time to do something you enjoy. For me, I enjoy gardening, listening to podcasts and our new “group Facetime chats” so that my parents and parents-in-law can keep in contact with their children and grand-children. Our Lifestyle team will help your loved one to find activities they enjoy.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted mental health professional for extra support if need be. The Beyond Blue website has a dedicated Coronavirus Mental Health Support team which you can find at www.beyondblue.org.au

At this stage no residents have tested positive for COVID-19. We are continuing to support our one affected employee who will remain in self-isolation until they receive clearance from the Department of Health.

What we have done so far

Keeping you, your loved ones, our employees and their families, and all the people who normally support our homes safe is our highest priority.

We started to plan in February when the impact of the virus overseas became clear. In times of crisis, speed is often more important than perfection, and I am very pleased with the speed at which our teams worked together to plan and implement the necessary changes.

So far we have:

  • Applied our Stringent Access Controls to all of our homes and services
  • Modified our lifestyle activities and meal times so your loved ones can safely socialise
  • Educated our residents and employees on how to wash hands properly
  • Introduced Telehealth in our homes
  • Delivered more iPads and Surface Go tablets to all homes
  • Installed additional hand sanitiser units throughout our homes and offices
  • Delivered mandatory additional Hand Hygiene and PPE training for all of our employees
  • Divided our homes into zones to prevent infection from spreading widely
  • Created regional ‘hubs’ for our stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Introduced health declaration for staff prior to shift commencement

Regis’ Executive and senior management team continues to meet daily to respond to the changing guidelines as quickly as possible.

We have made the major changes and are now reviewing and making adjustments as needed, without compromising your loved ones’ safety.

Infection Control

You may have heard of global shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). I am pleased to advise that our homes have the necessary PPE available for normal use and in the event of a confirmed case or outbreak. There are strict guidelines on when employees do and do not have to use PPE. Our staff can answer questions about this if you have any concerns. Please view:

Australian Government guidelines on wearing PPE (PDF)

Employees wash their hands before and after assisting your loved one at all times, use hand sanitiser regularly and clean down surfaces in the home after each use (understanding how long COVID-19 lasts as per this poster).

Homes ask employees about their health and the health of their household at the start of every shift.

Flu Vaccination

The Government has decided that all employees, General Practitioners, allied health professionals and visitors must have a current flu vaccination by 1 May 2020 to be able to enter a residential aged care home. This is an additional protection for aged care residents.

We strongly encourage you to receive the flu vaccination. Please view:

Australian Government Department of Health – restrictions on entry into and visitors to aged care facilities (PDF)

Survey

Further to the recent resident survey, we want to know how you think we are balancing the care and social needs of your loved one with managing the risk of COVID-19 in our homes. A survey will be sent out this week and I encourage you to respond. I welcome all feedback and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

As always, please talk to your Facility Manager if you have any concerns or needs. Please, stay safe.

Linda Mellors
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Inside our Homes

Regis Hornsby residents received a delivery from our lovely friends at MindChamps Early Learning – a bag of hugs for their grandmas and grandpas who they dearly miss visiting

Residents from Regis Chelmer nourished their mind, body and soul as they took part in physically distanced gentle yoga

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