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Covid-19 Confirmed Case

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What’s occurred?
Since early July we’ve had a COVID-19 outbreak at our Altona Meadow’s St George’s aged care home. We continue to put in place stringent infection prevention and control measures, work closely with government bodies, and conduct urgent and frequent testing of all employees and residents at the home. This is a very challenging time for all involved and we are taking every precaution to ensure we can to manage this outbreak as swiftly and quickly as possible.

2. How are you treating the affected residents?

All residents with Covid-19 were swiftly moved to one area of the home where they are closely monitored by a 24Hour Registered Nurse. The residents in this area have dedicated staff and cleaners who do not work anywhere else within the home. Clinical advice is being provided by the Western Health Outreach Team.

3. How are you managing residents who don’t have Covid-19?

All residents have been cared for in their rooms since the first employee case became known. They are monitored regularly throughout the day for their general wellbeing and also to assess for the onset of symptoms. Since resident cases were confirmed, residents who have tested negative to Covid-19 are cordoned in a separate area of the home with dedicated staff to prevent cross contamination. This area is largely self-sufficient with an independent kitchen, laundry and entrance. We have had no positive cases in these areas.

4. What are you doing to keep the residents and their families informed?

We are in close personal contact with all infected residents and employees, their close contacts and representatives, all of whom are receiving daily updates. Other residents and representatives are being called when major developments occur and we are distributing a daily update via email to all residents, family members and employees, which has occurred since the start of July. We also continue to update our website and FAQs with pertinent information.

5. What external expert support have you received?

With residents on site testing positive, we have had representatives from the Western Health Outreach Team at the home to provide clinical care. We have also been visited by the DHHS Infection Control Squad and Aspen Medical from the Commonwealth Department of Health. All representatives have commented positively on the infection prevention and control measures in place, including the way employees are donning-on and donning-off their PPE and the number of PPE stations in the home. They did not have any additional recommendations for us to implement. Further to this as of 4 August we are having regular operational meetings with government body representatives including the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to ensure we are getting all the support we need.

6. What infection prevention controls are in place?

Strict infection prevention and control processes continue to be in place across the home. This includes stringent use of full PPE, fully equipped PPE stations, frequent deep cleaning of the entire home, and strict pre-screening requirements for all essential personnel. Biomisting is also being undertaken in vacant rooms, which is the strongest cleaning procedure available. External government representatives have been supportive of the measures we have put in place.

7. What COVID-19 testing is being undertaken?

Extensive testing is being frequently undertaken in consultation with the DHHS at each stage of the outbreak. Urgent testing is also arranged upon the immediate onset of symptoms among any employee or resident. Once a confirmed case is identified, tracing is being undertaken and close contacts are also self-isolating. This will continue until the outbreak is fully managed.

8. Do you have sufficient PPE and how are you ensuring it is being effectively used?

All employees and essential workers are wearing face masks and full PPE including face shields when they enter a resident’s room, and we are receiving regular deliveries from the national stockpile to keep this at sufficient levels. We have undertaken training for all employees on PPE and infection prevention control measures, and provide briefings on PPE to each employee during shift handover. The on-site clinical team is are also providing supervision, monitoring practices and maintaining station supplies throughout shifts.

9. Do you have sufficient staffing levels?

Maintaining staffing levels is challenging, however we are working hard to manage appropriate levels and are utilising the Government surge staff to fill the gaps for employees who need to isolate. With the support of the Commonwealth Government we are working with Mable to access agency employees and possible interstate support.

10. Are you allowing families to take their loved one home?

We understand that being unable to visit a family member at St George’s and the long process of managing an outbreak may cause concern for family members. We are encouraging them to speak with the Residential Manager on the best arrangements and the opportunity to take their loved one home.

Last updated 2:30PM Friday 7 August 2020

If you have further questions, please direct these to covid19enquiries@benetas.com.au.