Residential Aged Care – A Pandemic Priority

Health and Safety of Residential Aged Care a priority at NCN Health…

With a number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Residential Aged Care Services across Victoria this year, it is a time of anxiety and uncertainty for many families.

NCN Health would like to reassure the community our aged care services have in place a number of infection control measures, screening practices and outbreak management plans to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff remains our highest priority.

NCN Health CEO Jacque Phillips said in line with the directions from The Victorian Government visiting hours are limited, in most cases, to one household per resident per day, for two hours.

“Under the current directions visitors are only allowed to attend when the visit is essential and where emotional and social support cannot be provided via electronic or other non-contact means, for example; telephone calls and video calls.”
Ms Phillips said any person permitted to enter the aged care facility is screened, has their temperature checked, is asked to wear a mask and required to sign in and out.

“Staff are also subject to screening before each shift, if they are unwell, even with very mild respiratory symptoms, they must self-isolate at home. They cannot return to work until they have returned a negative swab test for COVID-19,” she said.

If any person or staff member has a temperature above 37.6 or has even the mildest respiratory symptoms or unwell they are not permitted to enter a residential aged care facility.

Ms Phillips said the health service was also addressing this issue of staff movement and minimising contact with residents and other staff where possible.

“Staff have been asked to reduce their movement, for example; there is less staff moving within a health service campus and between facilities in the one shift, particularly if working in high risk areas. They must practice social distancing as much as is possible during their shift and are also required to wear a level 1 or 2 disposable medical face mask while at work.”

Ms Phillips said NCN Health were working closely with the Department of Health, The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and the Hume Region COVID-19 Cluster management team on outbreak management planning.

“While we have every confidence in our current COVID-19 infection and outbreak management processes it is vital to have emergency strategies in place, ready to respond if needed.”

Ms Phillips said she understood many of the restrictions around aged care facilities were difficult, for residents, their families, volunteers and friends.

“Our staff are working with residents and their families to ensure they are getting both the health care and emotional and social support they need. The priority in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic must be the health, welfare and safety of the resident, staff and community.”

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