Sunraysia aged-care centres plead for anti-virus habits

SUNRAYSIA aged-care providers have urged the community to remain vigilant to protect some of its most vulnerable from COVID-19.

Princes Court Homes chief executive Jenny Garonne and her Chaffey Aged Care counterpart Darren Midgley said it was vital Sunraysia people took appropriate measures to keep the region coronavirus-free.

"It's really important the community heed what the government is saying and do what they can to social distance," Ms Garonne said.

"Our communities are extremely vulnerable and we need to protect them."

Ms Garonne welcomed the move by the State Government to make masks mandatory in regional areas from Sunday night.

Mr Midgley said although Sunraysia had not had an active case in months, it was no time to be complacent.

He pleaded with the community to do their bit to ensure aged-care facilities wouldn't be put at risk.

"Please don't visit our community's aged-care facilities if you are unwell or have been in a high-risk COVID area in the preceding 14 days," Mr Midgley said.

"I urge any community members who have any COVID-19 symptoms to immediately self-isolate and have a COVID-19 test. The outcomes for our frail and aged will be significantly better if we can keep COVID-19 out of our aged care facilities."

Staff in aged-care facilities have been under increasing stress to manage restrictions and processes during the pandemic, all with the welfare of residents and care recipients in mind.

"There is significant extra pressure on our staff, and our staff are doing their utmost to meet these psychological, social, emotional and the care needs of those in our care," Mr Midgley said.

"The staff are really concerned about what COVID-19 is going to look like when and if it arrives in our community, and they are concerned for the safety of our care recipients, as we all are."

Ms Garonne said as well as residents' safety and protection, their ability to live life as normally as possible is also paramount.

"The concerns in the media, they are founded, (but) we are doing what we can to make sure our residents are kept safe," she said.

"I couldn't be more proud in regard to the way they are doing extra work above and beyond."

Ms Garonne said nurses had voluntarily aided residents with things as simple as haircuts, or connecting with family through technology.

Other activities, such as "armchair travel" events had helped keep residents engaged during a stressful time.

Aged care COVID-19 measures at Chaffey Aged Care, Merbein:

- COVID-19 response plan in place

- Visitation is restricted in line with government directives and all visitors and contractors are screened for COVID-19 risks, including temperature, and are required to sanitise their hands before entering the building and wear masks during their visit.

- Staff are screened before entering the building and any staff member with a temperature or respiratory symptoms is required to leave until they have COVID-19 test and the results confirm a negative result.

- Care recipients who have any temperature or respiratory symptoms are required to isolate in their single bedroom with a private ensuite and staff are provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep everyone safe.

- All staff have been given training on responding to COVID-19, which includes infection control processes and the correct use of PPE.

- Regular touch-point cleaning is in place and additional PPE stores have been ordered to ensure the facility is able to effectively manage COVID-19 and the associated risks.