At the beginning of this month we were pleased to welcome loved ones back into our aged care homes with the introduction of a new COVID-19 visitor program.
We thank residents and loved ones for their patience and support as we worked to implement new access processes to ensure the safe recommencement of visits.
As per our update on 29 April 2020, this week we carried out a formal review of our visitor program which was implemented on 4 May.
We are pleased to communicate that, as a result of this assessment, our current visitor arrangements will remain in place for a further four-week period, with a review scheduled for 29 June 2020.
The roll-out of our aged care visitor program has gone quite smoothly. However, as with all new processes, there were some minor teething issues.
These largely related to the need to schedule visits ahead of time and the provision of flu vaccination evidence.
By and large, families are scheduling visits as requested. However, a number of family members who are not the primary contact have arrived at our homes, unaware of this requirement.
We kindly ask that the residents’ primary contact relays this advice to any relevant family members or friends to prevent the unfortunate occasion of them being turned away.
Please encourage family and friends to visit our website at unitingsa.com.au/coronavirus, where they can view all communication issued regarding aged care visits.
Flu vaccination evidence
We would like to remind the community that, in line with State Government regulations, all aged care visitors must present evidence of flu vaccination upon arrival, unless they have a medical contraindication to the vaccine. The government has made specific allowances for the following medical contraindications:
- history of anaphylaxis following vaccination
- history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome following vaccination
- people on check point inhibitor drugs for cancer treatment
If one of the above applies to you, written evidence from your GP or treating medical specialist must be presented in order to enter. The evidence should refer to the relevant medical contraindication.
To support visitors in providing the required documentation, we encourage you to utilise our newly developed Evidence of contraindication form, which must be completed by your GP or specialist.
For more information about flu vaccination requirements, please view the following fact sheets:
- Influenza vaccination requirements for aged care visitors
- Obtaining your flu immunisation history statement
As a general reminder, the key elements of our aged care visitor program include:
- Pre-booking your visit ahead of time by phoning your aged care home
- Visiting during the hours of 10am and 4pm daily, and within the allocated two-hour timeframe
- Undergoing COVID-19 screening on entry, including a questionnaire, temperature check and
provision of flu vaccination evidence
- Restricting visits to your loved one’s room or other specified indoor or outdoor area (if available)
- Practicing hand hygiene upon entry and maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres at all times
- Adhering to a maximum of one visit, of up to two people, per resident, per day
Please note: Children aged under 16 years are only permitted on agreed compassionate grounds.
We also ask that you continue to monitor your own health and, if you feel even mildly unwell, please do not visit our homes. While the risk of COVID-19 has reduced significantly, it is still present and we must remain vigilant.
The above visitor access restrictions remain in accordance with State Government regulations and aim to protect residents by reducing the risk of COVID-19 entering our homes.
Please do not hesitate to contact UnitingSA if you have any questions or concerns.
By working together, we will be able to continue moving forward.
Visit our coronavirus updates page for the latest information.