“We care deeply about protecting our residents from the coronavirus pandemic and key measures that we can take to do this are our absolute priority. We are taking these steps to make our homes the safest possible place for older people to be,” MercyCare Chief Executive Officer Anthony Smith said.
Currently no MercyCare residents or staff have tested positive for COVID-19, however the risk remains high that external visitors may inadvertently introduce the virus to residents or staff, the consequences of which have been devastating on other states and countries.
To protect our residents MercyCare has implemented the following:
- All MercyCare residential aged care homes have entered a lockdown for 14 days, effective 3pm, Wednesday March 18. This means no visitors are allowed access, excluding those visiting residents receiving palliative care.
- Implementing additional strict infection control measures.
- Performing health screening on all staff and volunteers at the start of every shift.
- Implementing social distancing within the homes and limiting access to homes by non-essential contractors.
These measures will be reviewed after the 14-day period and further decisions will be made in the interest of residents based on advice from the Federal Government and the evolving situation at that point in time.
“We understand a lockdown will be hard on families unable to visit their loved one, especially during these difficult times. We appreciate their support in taking these steps in order to protect older people in our care,” Mr Smith said.
“We are investigating different ways residents can continue to stay connected with their loved ones and the community as a priority during this time ensuring their mental, spiritual and physical health and wellbeing.
“We know the critical role that families play in supporting their relatives and loved ones and understand that exceptions will need to be made for those residents receiving End Of Life care.”
MercyCare has encouraged families of residents who are palliative to contact home Service Managers to discuss arrangements. These visitors will need to adhere to strict infection prevention and control procedures during visits.
MercyCare’s 14-day lockdown goes above-and-beyond current advice issued by the Australian Government in its efforts to do all it can to protect its residents and staff.