On 18 March 2020 the Prime Minister announced additional public health measures, based on advice from the Australian Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), and this advice includes addition measures to protect our vulnerable older population living in residential aged care facilities. Transmission of the COVID-19 virus is through contact with respiratory droplets containing the virus and is highly contagious. Avoidance of exposure is the single most important measure for preventing the COVID-19 virus in residential aged care facilities.

New restrictions for ANYONE entering an aged care facility in Australia (this includes staff, volunteers, visitors, contractors)

No-one will be able to enter any aged care facility in Australia if:

  • they have returned from overseas in the last 14 days;
  • they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days;
  • they have a fever, or symptoms, or acute respiratory infection symptoms,
  • from 1 May 2020 everyone entering an aged care facility must have had an influenza vaccination

New restrictions at Bankstown City Aged Care facilities for visitors including family, friends, professional service providers or advocacy workers

  • All external gates to our villages will be closed with directions for all visitors to report to reception
  • All visitors must report to reception at each site every time you visit as you will be required to sign in and out of the building so we can monitor visitors on site. This central area will also be a source of information via posters/flyers/handouts. We will also be updating our website weekly on Wednesday in a special section called COVID-19.
  • Visitors will be limited to a MAXIMUM OF 1.5 HOURS. This timeframe will be reviewed for any resident that is palliative and families should approach the manager to discuss this further.
  • Visits must be conducted in a resident’s room or outdoors and it is recommended that visitors need to sit 1.5 metres away from the resident (this is called social distancing)
  • Only one visitor will be allowed to visit one resident once per day. This limit allows a health professional such as a doctor, dietician etc to be included in the daily limit of two visitors to the facility per resident. This will also make it easier to observe the 1.5 metre social distancing requirement.
  • Visitors must not enter a communal area like a lounge or dining room where other residents may be sitting. This means if you like to stay with your loved one during a meal time this will need to occur in the residents room.
  • Strict handwashing must be observed on entry to the facility and before entering a resident’s room and after leaving the room. We have alcohol based rub as well as handwashing areas for visitors to use.
  • Permission for children under the age of 16 to visit will need prior approval by the Manager and will only be approved in exceptional circumstances
  • Each village will provide you with advice on locations that are suitable outside for you to sit whilst visiting.

These new measures will commence immediately and will remain in place until further notice and will be regularly reviewed and will change as needed.

We actively discourage you from taking you relative or friend out of the village for meals or to your home however we respect the resident’s choice if they decide they wish to do this. We will need to be notified in advance and will discuss with you how to minimise the risk whilst your loved one is with you and what to do on return to the facility.

If any resident’s have any signs of coughs/colds we will be isolating them in their room and using the appropriate personal protective equipment. You will be asked to cease visiting until advised it is clear to resume. If two or more residents develop symptoms we will be treating this as a suspected COVID-19 outbreak and may lock down the site completely until advised by the Public Health Unit.

In addition to the new measures listed in this advice we have also implemented changes to some of the services we provide to our resident’s and these include cancelling large groups gathering for activities, external bus trips and visits from school groups. We have signs at our entrances requesting visitors, staff or volunteers not to enter if they had travelled overseas or if they had symptoms of cold or flu. We have also written to all our service providers about steps they need to take to ensure they comply with our requirements.

It is imperative that everyone in our community including our visitors do everything possible to prevent our residents from being exposed to this virus and BCAC will be monitoring visitor compliance with the new requirements.

Can you please ensure anyone you know who intends to visit one of our facilities is aware of the restrictions. Copies of this will also be available at reception areas.

We will keep you informed of any new developments and thank you in advance for understanding and co-operating with these necessary changes.

Warm regards

Deborah Key