“While this is a difficult decision and extremely hard for residents and families not to be able to see each other face-to-face, reopening our aged care homes to visitors would represent a significant risk to our residents at this time,” MercyCare CEO Anthony Smith said.
“MercyCare takes its responsibility to care for our residents and staff’s health and wellbeing very seriously, especially during this unprecedented pandemic. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety of residents and staff.
“We have asked residents and families for their understanding and continued support during this challenging time.”
MercyCare’s Aged Care homes were placed in lock down on Wednesday, 18 March for two weeks. This extension means MercyCare Aged Care homes will remain closed to visitors for a further four weeks from March 30.
Families who believe there are exceptional circumstances in which it is essential for them to visit have been asked to contact the home’s Service Manager.
“We understand face-to-face contact is important for the wellbeing of both residents and families. We are working on alternative options, including telephone calls and virtual visits using video call technology to communicate during this time,” Mr Smith said.
“These initiatives will be shared in the coming days to help families connect with their loved ones.”
On Sunday, 29 March, the Prime Minister strongly advised people aged over 70 years, or those over 60 with a chronic illness, to stay at home and self-isolate, limiting contact with others as much as possible.
MercyCare has implemented several measures to strengthen infection control processes at its Aged Care homes including:
- Those returned from interstate or overseas have self-isolated for 14 days before entering our homes.
- No children under 16 years old have entered any of our homes.
- The implementation of additional strict infection control measures.
- Preforming health screening on all staff and volunteers at the start of every shift.
- Performing twice daily temperature scanning of all residents and observing infection control protocol for anyone with a temperature.
- Implementing social distancing within the homes, including staff moving between wings, and limiting access to homes by non-essential contractors.
- Additional cleaning across the home.