UnitingSA will re-open our Residential Aged Care homes to visitors in a restricted capacity from 10am on Thursday, 26 November 2020.

This determination was made by our COVID-19 Response Team following the announcement that no new cases of COVID-19 were linked to the Parafield cluster on 23 November, and our public hospitals have recommenced visiting.

We are very pleased that residents will soon be re-united with their loved ones, however we remain acutely aware of our need to balance the protection of residents against COVID-19 with social connection and emotional wellbeing.

It is through this lens, that we will apply the following safeguards to ensure we can welcome visitors back into our homes, while minimising the risk of unknowing transmission.

FACE MASKS

In line with the latest public health advice, all visitors will be required to wear a face mask at all times when inside a UnitingSA Aged Care home. A face mask will be provided to visitors upon arrival. It’s important to remember that for a face mask to work effectively, it must be worn and disposed of correctly. Please refer to this fact sheet for further guidance.

FOUR SQUARE METRES

All resident bedrooms will be subject to a room capacity limit of 1 person per 4 square meters, in line with State Government social distancing requirements. Capacity limits will be displayed on posters positioned at the entrance to all rooms. Visitors must also continue to maintain a distance of 1.5 meters wherever possible.

TWO-HOUR LIMIT

The State Government has advised that a person who has been in the same closed space for at least two hours as someone who tests positive for COVID-19 is at great risk of contracting the virus. Accordingly, UnitingSA will limit all Aged Care visits to a maximum of two hours.

ESSENTIAL MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE

Due to the continued heightened risk of community transmission, residents are not permitted to leave their Residential Aged Care home, unless it is for medical reasons or essential health, dental or mental health care. We will continue to re-assess this risk, with the view to allowing social outings as soon as it is safe to do so.

In addition to the above, the following visitor guidelines will be in place

  • All visits must be pre-booked by phoning your aged care home.
  • Residents can receive a maximum of one visit by up to two people per day.
  • Visits must occur between 10am and 4pm daily, and within the allocated two-hour timeframe.
  • All visitors must undergo COVID-­19 screening on entry, including a temperature check.
  • All visitors must provide evidence of flu vaccination and photo identification.
  • Visits should occur in the resident’s room, outside or other specified area (not communal areas).
  • All visitors must practice hand hygiene prior to seeing their loved one.

It’s important that we also continue to work together to protect our residents by staying home if we’re unwell, using cough etiquette and practicing good hand hygiene.

We have increased the number of hand hygiene stations around our homes to help all of us enhance our hand hygiene. Here are some resources if you would like to refresh your knowledge on the best ways to protect each other against COVID-19:

While the decision to re-open our homes to visitors is certainly positive news, we mustn’t forget that elderly people are at the greatest risk of serious illness due to COVID-19 transmission.

Therefore, we implore visitors to exercise great caution and mindfulness when in the company of their loved one to ensure their safety is not compromised.  

We also encourage visitors to familiarise themselves with the latest public health alert locations listed at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDcontacttracing to ensure you do not enter our homes if you have attended one of these sites between the identified times.

As always, we will continue to use discretion and show compassion when dealing with family of residents at the end stages of life.

Thank you for your continued support.