NSW Health has revised the visiting guidelines for end of life visits, and is also now allowing children under the age of 12 years to visit under strict conditions. A summary of the visiting guidelines is attached to this newsletter for your information.

We have received several questions about visiting and we thought it was worth sharing these with our residents and relatives as FAQ’s:

When will unvaccinated visitors be allowed to visit?

NSW Health has not indicated that this will be approved any time soon for people over the age of 12 years.  For unvaccinated children under 12 please refer to the attached summary of restrictions for children who are now able to visit.

Why can one resident only have 2 visitors per day and when will this end?

The Public Health Order has mandated the number of visitors and there is no indication of when this condition may be amended.

Why is BCAC only offering visiting on 5 days per week and why do I need to book?

The additional staffing resources needed to facilitate the entry screening process at our larger sites is approximately an additional 25 hours per week.  Unfortunately there has been no additional funds given to the sector to pay for the additional staffing hours.  As a community not for profit provider we recognize the importance of our residents being able to have visitors and we look forward to moving towards restrictions being eased.  We appreciate your support and patience during this period.

Booking helps us manage the need to comply with 2 visitors per residents per day restrictions.

Will allowing children to visit increase the risk of COVID transmission to residents?

The media has widely reported over 24 schools have had outbreaks since schools resumed a few weeks ago.  NSW Health is aware of this and is recommending children under 12 who visit to residential aged care facilities should wear a mask, visit outdoors and have a Rapid Antigen Test prior to visiting.  BCAC supports the NSW Health recommendations and requests that any families wishing to bring children under 12 years to ring the facility Monday – Friday between 8.30am – 4pm to book an outdoor area for visiting. We will show compassion and common sense if the resident is bed bound and is unable to go outdoors and this will be discussed at the time of booking.

How will the risk of COVID to residents who are unvaccinated due to a medical condition be managed?

Approximately 5% of our residents are not vaccinated and are concerned that increased numbers of visitors and children increases the risk to them.  BCAC will be implementing all NSW Health recommendations, will continue to screen residents for COVID daily and will also continue to conduct Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) for all staff and contractors.   We also know that our visitors absolutely support the need to follow all the COVID safe measures (Hand washing, masks, entry screening, not visiting with symptoms etc). 

What visiting arrangements will be in place at Christmas?

NSW Health has indicated advice will be provided the aged care sector in early December about what restrictions can be lifted and as soon as we know I will share this information so families can make plans.