IRT'S RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Due to the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we have implemented visitor restrictions at all our residential aged care centres. Read More

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IRT’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19 – UPDATE

Care Services Industry
20 July 2020

UPDATED 20/07/2020

Revised visitor arrangements

Due to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in NSW and the risk of community transmission into the ACT, we have made the difficult decision to limit visits at all our NSW and ACT aged care centres to compassionate visits only (such as for residents receiving end-of-life care).

The growing rate of community transmission poses a serious risk to the health and safety of our residents and employees and we thank you for your ongoing support and understanding as we continue to face this challenge together.

We have worked hard to keep COVID-19 out of our aged care centres and believe limiting visits in this way is necessary to maintain our zero infection rate. We make these arrangements in good faith, with the best interests of all residents at heart.

We continue to facilitate phone and video calls for family members and encourage residents to participate in activities and socialise.

Compassionate visits are to be arranged in advance directly with the Care Manager. If you have any questions please call our Customer Service Team on 134 478.

UPDATED 16/07/2020

Given an increased number of COVID-19 cases in South West Sydney we have been directed by the NSW Government to implement the following restrictions immediately. These restrictions are in addition to those already in place for visitors who may have returned from overseas, or Victoria.

Until further notice, anyone who has been anywhere within the following local government areas in the prior two weeks must NOT visit an Aged Care Centre:

  • Liverpool
  • Campbelltown
  • Camden
  • Wingecarribee
  • Wollondilly

Please note there is no change to the visiting restrictions as notified earlier this week for the following sites:

  • IRT Macarthur
  • IRT Berala
  • IRT Thomas Holt Kirrawee
  • IRT Thomas Holt Sans Souci
  • IRT Peakhurst
  • IRT Dalmeny
  • IRT Woolwich
  • IRT Woonona

In addition, anyone who has been at any of the venues listed at the following link at the times mentioned must NOT enter an aged care centre until 14 days after attending the venue:  www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates The information at this link is updated regularly by NSW Health – please review before every visit.

We recognise how difficult these new restrictions will be, but we are grateful for your cooperation, understanding and support as we maintain our focus on reducing the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak.

We will continue to review and update our visiting arrangements based on government advice and including indicators of risk including rates of community transmission, rates of aged care infection and the availability of infection control resources.

If you have any questions please call our Customer Service Team on 134 478

UPDATED 10/07/2020

Reminder – visitors must have an appointment

All visitors to our residential aged care centres must book ahead by phoning the aged care centre during business hours Monday – Friday. Anyone who arrives at one of our centres without an appointment will not be permitted entry. This is an IRT Group wide arrangement and our Care Workers are unable to make exceptions. Please direct any concerns you may have about this to senior management via our Customer Service Team on 134 478.

Visitor appointments are an essential step in maintaining the strict infection control procedures that are protecting the health and safety of our residents and our employees. This is our highest priority and we thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Full details of our visitor arrangements can be found here.

If you have any questions please call our Customer Service Team on 134 478

UPDATED 9/07/2020

UPDATED 29/06/2020

Visitation Restrictions – Victoria outbreak

Due to the continued increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Victoria, we strongly advise family members and resident representatives to reconsider visiting one of our residential aged care centres if they have recently had visitors from Victoria.

As previously advised, IRT employees, contractors and visitors who have travelled to Victoria in the previous 14 days are not permitted to enter our aged care centres.

We are also asking people to reconsider their visit if they have been a large group setting where social distancing has not been maintained.

These precautionary measures will remain in place until further notice. All other existing visitor restrictions remain in place. Details of our visitor arrangements can be found here.

Thank you once again for your continued cooperation in assisting us to maintain a COVID safe environment within our aged care centres.

If you have any questions please call our Customer Service Team on 134 478.

UPDATED 25/06/2020

Visitation Restrictions

Due to the recent outbreaks of COVID-19 in Victoria IRT employees, contractors and visitors who have travelled to Victoria in the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry to our residential aged care centres. This precautionary measure will remain in place until further notice.

Every effort will continue to be made to ensure residents have access to phone and video calls with family and friends who are unable to visit due to this restriction.

All other existing visitor restrictions remain in place. Details of our visitor arrangements can be found here.

Protecting the health and safety of our residents and employees is our highest priority and we thank you for your ongoing cooperation and understanding.

If you have any questions please call our Customer Service Team on 134 478

UPDATED 23/06/2020

We’d like to thank our residents and their families and friends for their continued cooperation and understanding regarding the visiting restrictions we have implemented in response to the COVID-19 situation.

We are pleased to advise that we are now offering Saturday visits for regular visitors who are unable to visit on weekdays. All other existing visitor restrictions remain in place. Details of our visitor arrangements can be found here.

We are also pleased to advise that we have implemented our COVID Safe Plan for hairdressers and will be recommencing hairdressing services from Monday 29 June, pending the return of relevant documentation by hairdressers.

Thank you once again for your understanding as we navigate this challenging situation.

UPDATED 15/06/2020

We’d like to thank our residents and their families and friends for their continued cooperation and understanding. The measures we have put in place, combined with vigilant infection control practices, continue to result in a zero COVID-19 infection rate within our aged care centres.

Some residents at some of our centres have experienced respiratory symptoms, however the results of all tests have been negative for both COVID-19 and influenza. These results provide us with further confidence that our restriction measures are working.

In further support of our approach, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission recently undertook an audit of our COVID Safe Plan and Preventative Plan. The feedback from this audit was positive, with no action or amendments required.

We continue to meet three times per week, to review our approach based on indicators of risk including rates of community transmission, rates of aged care infection and the availability of infection control resources.

We have started work on a plan to offer visiting times on Saturdays for those who have been regular visitors in the past and are not able to visit on weekdays. More details will be provided once arrangements are finalised.

Attendance at large gatherings

As members of the community begin to move more freely with the easing of restrictions, potentially attending large gatherings and coming into contact with more people, we have introduced a new question for consideration by visitors when completing their wellness check questionnaire. Anyone visiting our age care centres will be asked to declare whether they have recently participated in a large gathering, and to reconsider their visit if this is the case.

We encourage all potential visitors to download the COVIDSafe app as an additional way to keep our community safe.

Hairdressing services

We are currently in discussion with our regular providers of hairdressing services to initiate a safe return to our centres. Hairdressers will be asked to commit to, and comply with, the full range of COVID-19 safe requirements before they can return. We will provide more information about this when arrangements have been finalised.

As has always been the case, we will continue to make special arrangements for compassionate visits and to ensure contact is maintained between residents and their loved ones.

Our teams continue to do a great job of facilitating initiatives such as window visits and video calls with families and ensuring our residents are participating in activities and socialising with each other.

If you have any questions, please call our Customer Service team on 134 478.

UPDATED 08/05/2020

Visitation Restrictions

We’d like to thank our residents and their families and friends for their cooperation and understanding regarding the visitation restrictions we have implemented in response to the COVID-19 situation.

Although we recognise how difficult this has been, we are pleased that these measures, combined with vigilant infection control practices, have contributed to a zero COVID-19 infection rate within our aged care centres to date.

With the Australian Government reporting a sustained low spread of COVID-19 in our communities, we now have greater confidence to ease visitation restrictions, and will be implementing new arrangements from Monday 11 May.

From Monday, we will be allowing visits for those family members or resident representatives who are regular weekly visitors. If you are a regular weekly visitor, please contact your Care Manager to arrange your visit.

As has always been the case, we will continue to make special arrangements for compassionate visits. However, where our aged care centres are located within designated COVID-19 hotspots, additional visitation restrictions may apply.

As our residents are extremely vulnerable to the deadly effects of both COVID-19 and influenza, we ask that all visitors comply with the following:

  1. Provide evidence of current influenza vaccination (this is a government requirement)
  2. Visits will be limited to 30 minutes, between 11am – 12.30pm and 4pm-5.20pm, Monday to Friday (exceptions to these times may be made for compassionate circumstances)
  3. No more than 2 visitors as one time per resident (including doctors) and no visitors under 16, as per current government legislation.
  4. Only next of kin or nominated representatives will be allowed to visit at this time.
  5. Visits must take place in a resident’s single room, a designated visitor room or outdoors.
  6. Visitors must wash their hands thoroughly before entering and leaving the aged care centre or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  7. Visitors must maintain social distancing (1.5 metres), unless providing personal care (such as assisting with meals).
  8. Visitors are asked to wear clean clothes and not stop off anywhere on the way to their visit.
  9. We recommend you do not take your loved one out on social leave unless for an essential medical reason.

Please DO NOT visit any of our aged care centres if you or anyone you have been in contact with is feeling unwell with symptoms of a cold, flu or COVID-19.

We will continue to review our visitation arrangements based on indicators of risk including rates of community transmission, rates of aged care infection and the availability of infection control resources.

Our teams are doing a great job of facilitating initiatives such as window visits and video calls with families and ensuring our residents are getting out of their rooms and socialising with each other. We will continue to work with families to ensure contact is maintained with their loved ones during this time.

Gifts and Flowers

We are still accepting gifts and sealed packaged food that can be wiped down and disinfected before being given to our residents.

We will also accept gifts of flowers.

If you have any questions please call our Customer Service Team on 134 478.

 

UPDATED 22/04/2020

We acknowledge the Prime Minister’s recent media statements regarding visitation arrangements at residential aged care centres and recognise that the Government’s view on what is appropriate is different from the decision IRT has taken to restrict aged care centre visits to compassionate visits only.

We continue to review this decision in light of all available information regarding COVID-19; however we still believe that the current risk posed to our residents and employees from visitation is too high to relax our stance.

Older people and those with existing medical conditions are most at risk from COVID-19. Unfortunately the majority of our residents fall into both these categories.

Our only motivation in keeping these restrictions in place is to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak at our aged care centres. We remain single minded in our commitment to protect the health and safety of our residents and employees.

We will continue to facilitate compassionate visits for residents who are receiving palliative care.

We are also continually monitoring the health and wellbeing of all residents and will arrange compassionate visits for any resident whose physical or mental health is being affected by the current restrictions. This includes residents who aren’t eating properly and those living with dementia who are experiencing agitation and cannot be settled by staff members.

All requests for compassionate visits are being managed by Care Managers at each aged care centre and escalated to regional Business Managers for a decision as appropriate. We encourage family members and friends to get in touch with our Care Managers to check on the health and wellbeing of their loved one, or to request a compassionate visit.

We are also putting in place a range of measures to keep residents engaged and active during this time. These include:

  • Increased one-on-one activities with lifestyle staff
  • Corridor activities, such as bingo and sing-a-longs
  • ANZAC services and other activities, including poppy walls and gardens
  • ‘Window’ visits for family members, including bringing residents to areas of the aged care centre where this type of visit can take place
  • Facetime visits and phone calls
  • Letter writing programs with local schools.

We have also reintroduced small group activities.

Once again, we’d like to reinforce that the decisions we have made regarding visitation are being made in good faith, with the best interests of our residents at heart.

We’d like to thank our residents and their families and friends for their cooperation as we work through this very difficult and unprecedented situation

 

UPDATED 9/04/2020

The Australian Government has mandated that everyone entering a residential aged care centre from 1 May 2020 must have had their flu vaccination.

We will be rolling out our mandatory flu vaccination program for all aged care centre employees over the next few weeks; however these new Government regulations also mean that anyone wanting to visit an aged care centre resident will also need to be vaccinated.

While visitor restrictions are still in place at our aged care centres at this time, we are contacting family members so we can prepare for the time when we are able to lift the restrictions and recommence visits.

As an approved provider of residential aged care, we will need to seek evidence of immunisation status from all visitors, while ever this Government regulation remains in place. We are therefore asking family members and friends that may wish to visit one of our residents in the future to get a letter or certificate from their health practitioner when they get their flu vaccination.

We may also be able to accept other evidence of immunisation such as a Medicare immunisation history record.

Gift and Meal Deliveries

We understand that the restrictions we have placed on the delivery of gifts and meals to residents have been upsetting for some residents and families.

We have taken your feedback on board, and while this is still not encouraged, we will be allowing gifts and packaged food to be delivered to our aged care centres, as long as these are sealed and can be appropriately disinfected. These arrangements will be at the discretion of our regional Business Managers.

Thank you once again for your patience and cooperation as we try to do our very best for your loved ones in our care.

 

UPDATED 1/04/2020

As a result of the latest announcement from the Australian Government (29/03/2020) urging people over 70 years of age to self-isolate, and limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to 2 people, we have made the following additional changes at our residential aged care centres:

  • Residents will no longer be able to leave the aged care centre for appointments or social reasons. Residents may only leave the aged care centre to attend medical appointments of a critical clinical nature that are unsuitable for telehealth.
  • All visits from non-essential service and entertainment providers, including hairdressers have been postponed.
  • Use of resident lounges and activity rooms is discouraged, and limited to 2 residents at any time.
  • Any non-essential gatherings of residents have been discontinued.
  • Resident dining will continue in dining rooms at this stage; however social distancing of 1 person per every 4 sqm will be adhered to wherever possible.
  • Gift and meal deliveries can no longer be accepted directly at our aged care centres. We do however, encourage families to keep sending letters, cards and photos through the mail.

In addition, all employees and essential contractors are also subject to wellness screening before entering our aged care centres. This includes a temperature check, confirmation that they have not returned from overseas in the last 14 days and have not been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

Existing visitation restrictions are still in place and must be strictly adhered to. These are:

  • No visitors – except for compassionate visitation (eg family members of our palliative care residents)
  • Arrangements for compassionate visitation:
    • Restricted hours
    • Limit of 2 visitors at one time per day
    • No children under 16
    • No visitors with flu-like symptoms or a temperature over 37.50C
    • Wellness screening of all visitors, including temperature check and confirmation that they have not returned from overseas in the last 14 days and have not been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
    • Visits are to take place in the resident’s room or outside areas of the aged care centre.
  • Compassionate visitation for new admissions is restricted to one visit on the day of admission.

If you have any questions, please call our Customer Service team 134 478.

 

UPDATED 18/03/2020

Residential Aged Care Centre Visitation Arrangements

The health and wellbeing of our residents and employees remains our highest priority.

Due to the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we have implemented the following visitor restrictions at our Aged Care Centres:

No visitors – the only exception at this time is for compassionate visitation, such as family members of our palliative care residents
• Arrangements for compassionate visitation:
 – restricted hours
 – limit of two visitors at one time per day
 – no children under the age of 16.

If you have any questions about this notice, please call 134 478.

UPDATED 16/03/2020

IRT is reinforcing its infection control procedures and is monitoring all advice from the Australian Government Department of Health.

All employees, visitors and contractors are asked to stay away from IRT sites if they are unwell. Anyone who has recently arrived in Australia from overseas should not visit an IRT site for 14 days after the date of arrival, and self-isolate as per Australian Government requirements.

IRT is well placed to manage infection control. Every year, we prepare to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases such as influenza and gastroenteritis. Our teams are well trained in infection control and attend regular refresher training. We are continually monitoring all employees and procedures to limit the potential impact of COVID-19.

If you have any concerns please call our Customer Service team on 134 478.

Additional information is available here:

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