Updated advice regarding COVID-199th March 2020 | 2 minutes
Further advice for our residents, relatives, representatives and community partners
(Translations available below).
We continue to follow the advice of the Commonwealth and State Departments of Health and to exercise extra vigilance in our care homes around infection control. Please be aware that the situation is constantly evolving and we are refining our own plans at Opal as this advice changes. Be assured that we already have robust plans in place in our care homes to manage more common outbreaks and many of the same processes apply to COVID-19.
Infection control measures in place
Active screening at entrances to care homes and Opal Home Office
Notices at care home entrances advise that anyone who wishes to enter the home and has:
- travelled to or through countries identified as high-risk for COVID-19, or
- had contact with someone who has is not permitted to come inside, should self-isolate for 14 days from day of arrival in Australia and seek advice from their medical practitioner.
This is one of our strongest defences against the spread of COVID-19. All visitors must sanitise their hands at the hand sanitising stations at the entrances to our homes before coming inside, and regularly while inside.
Training for Opal Team
- We are reinforcing our regular focus on training including our Hand Hygiene Tool Box Talks and mandatory online infection control modules.
Updated Opal Travel Policy
Our policy restricts air travel to essential business travel only to help reduce exposure to large groups of people moving around interstate and overseas. The Policy has been distributed to all Team.
- Care home General Managers and Care Managers have ceased all business travel in order to ensure consistent leadership presence in the home and to remain available for residents, Team and families should you have any questions or concerns.
- Team members who have travelled to countries identified as high-risk for COVID-19 are required to self-isolate for 14 days (not attend work) and seek medical advice. Team are asked to follow travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and advise their manager of any planned overseas travel.
Large meetings or gatherings in the care home
- We have increased the use of digital technology to stay connected through online meetings to reduce large internal face to face meetings.
- We are limiting groups coming into our care homes (eg, school groups involving children, residents from other care homes).
- Preventative screening is the key for keeping our residents and team safe. This means strict adherence to signage on all entry/exit points to the care home is required and this is being monitored by the care home’s leadership team.
Team members have been asked to disclose to their General Manager whether they work at or visit any other aged care homes, medical facilities, or other place of employment (apart from Opal) on a regular basis. It is not uncommon for aged care workers to have more than one place of employment and this measure will help our leadership teams to be aware of other environments our team may frequent.
How you can help
If you experience flu-like symptoms
- Do not visit the care home. Seek medical attention, even if you feel you are most likely suffering the effects of a cold or other respiratory illness.
- Cover your mouth with the crook of your elbow when coughing or sneezing, dispose of tissues safely, and if unwell avoid close contact with others.
- Follow the Hand Hygiene advice provided by the World Health Organisation at all times.
Please follow our advice when visiting our care home
- Ensure you adhere to the advice provided at the entrance to our care home.
For further information
Thank you for your understanding and for complying with our advice. The attached FAQ provides further information for anyone wishing to visit our care home. Also attached is advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO), and a copy of the signage displayed outside our care homes. The WHO provides information on COVID-19 that is updated regularly, including this video which may be helpful:
Translation for this article
As always, our care team are here to support you and your loved ones. The wellbeing of our residents is core to our care and if you have any queries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us directly below.