Thank you for your continued support and feedback throughout this time. Our focus, as always, is the continued safety and wellbeing of our residents, clients and employees.
We are aware of the comments made by the Prime Minister and the Chief Medical Officer yesterday. Amongst the comments about providing access to visitors, the point was made that:
“Infection prevention and control measures must be balanced against the needs and best interests of residents. Aged care providers are best placed to make these assessments on a case by case basis”.
We have also reviewed the formal statement issued by the AHPPC (Australian Health and Protection Principal Committee), which serves to reinforce the previous guidance. Our Stringent Access Control processes have been, and continue to be, our most robust line of defence against COVID-19. These measures are critical to reducing community transmission of the virus into our care home.
This COVID-19 pandemic has required all of us to make changes to our lives and routines. Australia had the significant benefit of learning from the experience of other countries in determining our responses. In the aged care sector, we have also had the benefit of learning from other experiences and receiving first hand advice from aged care providers overseas and locally that have been impacted by COVID-19. Of course, we would all prefer that this situation not exist and that all of our homes could be open as normal. We are also thankful that we are not in the devastating position of many other countries and that we have put in place effective and early measures to prevent widespread loss of life.
Regis has kept the safety, wellbeing and comfort of our residents and staff central to all of our decisions. This has included balancing our residents’ physical and mental health needs. We have also asked our residents for their views and the vast majority of respondents to our resident survey (90%) supported the stringent access controls we put in place. Not all of our residents are able to provide their views due to their health or cognitive status. The majority of feedback from our families has also been supportive and understanding, which tells us that we have balanced the risks appropriately.
Regis has and will continue to facilitate compassionate and support visits for those residents and families with particular needs.
We continue to encourage and support you to communicate with your loved ones using a variety of tools – by telephone, FaceTime, Skype, through windows, from separate outdoor spaces – and we are increasingly able to offer visits with appropriate social distancing. Through the various Federal and State or Territory Government restrictions, we are not able to open our homes to visitors as normal and that is not the advice of Government or the health experts. The advice to practice social distancing, the restrictions on the numbers of people in set areas at any one time and the advice not to visit older people if possible remains current. The states and territories have different restrictions in place, some of which preclude the lifting of the access restrictions at this time and we are reminded that aged care homes should be particularly vigilant in this pandemic due to the higher risk to older people.
Our teams have been working very hard to increase the range of options in a safe and controlled way. We continue to regularly review the Stringent Access Controls and will wind them back in a very measured way, making sure that it is safe to do so and we have all the equipment and processes in place to allow visits for loved ones (whilst continuing to maintain the safety and wellbeing of residents). We will also continue to seek feedback from our residents and families regarding resident needs and preferences.
I am deeply proud and grateful of the many and varied ways our staff have quickly adapted to the necessary changes to provide safe, stable and reassuring environments for our residents.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or feedback.
I will write to you again next week to let you know of our next steps and thank you in advance for your continued understanding of the pandemic and the changing situation.
I have received my flu vaccination as I do every year. I am a strong believer in receiving the vaccination to protect myself, my family, my colleagues and my community.
The Australian Government has mandated that flu vaccinations will be required for all staff and visitors entering any residential aged care home from 1 May 2020. You will need to receive the flu vaccination to prepare for when the access controls are lifted. Please view:
Social and physical distancing should not mean social isolation and we know how important connection and socialisation are at times like this. Our homes are starting ‘Window of Connection’ sessions so you can visit your loved ones safely. Contact your home to find out more and book in a time when available.
As I mentioned, the flu vaccination is an important defence against illness in our homes. There are other ways we can work together to protect our community and flatten the curve too.
As per the current recommendations, we should be staying home unless we have to leave for essential outings such as:
Washing hands remains incredibly important as is covering our coughs and sneezes, disposing of tissues safely, and avoiding contact with others (1.5m distance). You can find out more on this fact sheet provided by the Government Department of Health:
I know we are all grateful for the tireless work of our employees to protect and care for your loved ones. Where possible, we need to stay home for them, while they go to work for us.
We have created our own ‘Clap for Carers’ video to show our appreciation for the work of our employees and thanking them for their dedication and compassion. Our employees do everything they can to support our residents at all times and I am thankful for their commitment.
You can view the video here:
We have sent out a survey asking for your feedback on our efforts so far. All feedback is welcomed as we continue to plan for the future. You can complete the survey here:
As always, please talk to your Facility Manager if you have any concerns or needs. Please, stay safe.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer