Recent announcements made by the State Government aim to ease visiting restrictions across South Australia’s Aged Care homes.

The changes are outlined in the government’s updated Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 12) (COVID-19) Direction 2020, which was released yesterday afternoon.

Of particular note is the government’s declaration that there “is now no restriction on the number of care and support visits a resident may receive,” including visits by relatives and friends for social reasons. Also of importance is the government’s stipulation that “processes should be put in place to ensure residents are able to receive visitors safely.”

As a result of this advice, UnitingSA will be implementing new Aged Care visitor protocols across our homes, commencing at 8am tomorrow (Friday, 6 November 2020). The following changes will come into effect at this time:

  • All homes will commence standard visiting hours of 8am until 8pm, with after-hours access via the entrance door bell
  • The two-hour time limit for visits will no longer apply
  • Residents will not be restricted in the number of visits or visitors they receive per day
  • All visitors, including those entering after-hours, will continue to undergo COVID-19 screening, including a risk-factor questionnaire, temperature checking and provision of flu vaccination evidence
  • Bookings will no longer be required in order to visit your loved one
  • Visits will be able to be conducted in communal areas
  • All resident bedrooms and communal areas will be subject to a room capacity limit, in line with the government’s social distancing requirements (1 person per 2 square meters)

With regards to room capacity limits, we would like to provide visitors with the following advice:

  • Capacity limits will be displayed on posters positioned at the entrance to all rooms
  • Visitors and staff must comply with all room capacity limits
  • If a room has reached its capacity, visitors must wait until another person vacates the room before entering
  • Visitors may be required to temporarily leave the room if staff need to enter to care for a resident
  • In line with government advice, all visitors must continue to practice social distancing where possible (maintaining a 1.5 meters distance)

To prevent delays in visitors seeing their loved ones, due to rooms being at capacity, we encourage family and friends to coordinate visits as best they can with one another. We also encourage visitors, where possible and as needed, to consider using communal areas to conduct visits with larger numbers of people.

In addition to the above, the updated Direction specifies that Victorian travellers who reside within 70km of the South Australian border may now enter South Australian Residential Aged Care homes. New Zealand travellers are also now permitted.

For further advice, we encourage families and friends to speak with the relevant home’s Director of Nursing.

Visit our coronavirus updates page for the latest information.