Reviewed at 11/10/2021
RE: Lifting of Visitor Restrictions at Residential Aged Care Facilities.
Please be advised, TriCare has learnt that the current visiting restrictions to Residential Aged Care Facilities in impacted areas will lift at 4pm today when the wider community restrictions in these areas go from stage 2 to stage 3. Whist the Residential Aged Care Direction has not yet been updated by Queensland Health at the time of releasing this memo. In the interests of timely communication and with understanding of the importance of re-establishing in person social visits for residents and their families.
Please note the following.
As per Public Health Direction Restrictions for Impacted Areas (No. 18) Direction available via this link https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/restrictions-impacted-areas. From 9am Saturday 09 October 2021, TriCare will reopen all our homes for social visits and visitors who reside in any of the below previously impacted LGA’s will be able to enter all TriCare Residential Aged Care Residences.
PPE requirements for staff and visitors will be in accordance with a moderate risk rating. Part of these PPE requirements is for all persons (except residents) who enter a residential aged care residence to wear a surgical face mask. TriCare will provide surgical face masks to people 12 years and over who are visiting.
We are excited about this news and warmly welcome back all our residents’ family and friends. To ensure everyone’s safety and to comply with our approved provider obligations, we will reinstate from tomorrow, the below visiting access times and entry conditions.
Visitor Access Times
Monday to Friday
9am to 4.30pm
Weekends and Public Holidays
9.30am to 11am
2pm to 3.30pm
With the lifting of these restrictions this means that a resident can leave the residential aged care home for any reason. Though must comply with general wider community covid restrictions.
Also announced was the tightening of border controls and all of New South Wales, except for people residing in the boarder zone will be declared a COVID-19 Hotspot from 1am tomorrow. This is in addition to the current hotspot declarations for Victoria and South Australia. Anyone who has been in a hotspot is not permitted to enter an aged care facility in Queensland.
Find more information about the boarder zone here.
The Chief Health Officer has asked that people in South East Queensland continue to wear masks for a further seven days.
We are currently waiting for clarification from Queensland Health on whether surgical face mask wearing for staff and visitors will continue to be a requirement for entry into residential aged care for the next seven days. Please be advised if this is a requirement then staff will advise you at the time of entry and TriCare will provide surgical face masks to people 12 years and over who are visiting.
For the latest Residential Aged Care Direction please go to https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-healthdirections-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/aged-care
TriCare has comprehensive infection prevention and outbreak management processes in place, which include comprehensive staff training, dedicated Infection Prevention and Control Leads, encouragement and promotion of staff Covid-19 vaccination, outbreak management plans and sufficient cleaning and PPE stock available.
This situation remains dynamic with government-initiated changes, for these reasons we may need to revoke and change advice to ensure we maintain compliance to government directions. We kindly ask for your patience and understanding at this time and will continue to keep you informed of any change received in relation to this matter as soon as practicable. Once again, we sincerely appreciate the challenge these times are for you and thank you for your ongoing support in helping us to maintain resident safety.
Additional Measures by TriCare
- The following measures have been implemented further to reduce the potential spread of the virus include but are not limited to:
- Restricting entry points at the Aged Care facilities and placing hand sanitiser at these entry points.
- Communicated our strict entry protocols to contractors, allied health professionals and medical colleagues who attend the site.
- Additional training for staff on effective infection control practices and management of viruses.
- Established emergency response protocols if an outbreak occurs.
- We have restricted staff travel between our Retirement Villages and Aged Care Facilities to essential services only.
- A communication strategy to keep families and staff updated in the event on an outbreak.
- Regular communication with suppliers to continue supplies of essential goods.
- Purchased additional stock of some key products in the event of an outbreak.
- Reinforcing the importance of social distancing for staff and residents during all episodes of the necessary contact; and
- Heightened awareness for hand hygiene using soap and water as preferred option or hand sanitiser in the event of no soap and water.
Phone and Video Calls
TriCare strongly encourages friends and family members to keep in close contact with their loved ones via telephone and preferably video calls, such as Skype and Facetime when possible.
For further information, please visit the below websites:
Aged Care Residents and their Families – https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources#for-aged-care-residents-and-families
Residential and Aged Care Workers – https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-health-care-and-residential-care-workers
Department of Health – https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Smart Traveller) – https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
We continue to working closely with the Queensland Department of Health and the Federal Government and are adhering to the advice of the Chief Medical Officer for the Australian Government in the monitoring and preparedness for COVID-19.
We are educating and keeping our residents, visitors, family members and staff updated about the seriousness of infection control and outbreak management.
We thank everyone for supporting the measures we are taking during this challenging period. The health and wellbeing of our Residents, Staff and Visitors remain our primary focus.