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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Response

It is vital that we protect our community, which includes our residents, customers and workforce from any outbreak including the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Our priorities are:

  • protecting our residents, customers and workforce by minimising the spread of the virus through our community as much as possible.
  • ensure we are fully prepared if any member of our community has tested positive to the virus, so we can contain the virus, care for those infected and action the appropriate isolation requirements.

Watch to hear how ACH Group is prepared in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in one of its eight residential care homes.

Information correct as of 21 August 2020.

Measures We're Taking

Measures We’re Taking

  • All front line staff undertake temperature checks at the beginning of their shift.
  • All staff wear masks when they are within 1.5 metres of a resident in our residential care homes. Visitors are welcome to request a mask on entry.
  • Our staff are also skilled in infection control and the use of PPE if required.
  • Strict hygiene practices are used and all sites require visitor declarations to be completed prior to entry.
  • All ACH Group Residential Care homes have restricted access to keep our residents and workforce safe.
  • Designated COVID Marshals at all social and health groups, and at ACH Group community centres
Site Entry Requirements

Site Entry Requirements

Residential care homes

Visiting hours at ACH Group Residential Care homes are:

 

Day Time
Monday 1pm – 4pm
Tuesday 1pm – 4pm, 6pm – 8pm
Wednesday 1pm – 4pm
Thursday 1pm – 4pm, 6pm – 8pm
Friday 1pm – 4pm
Saturday 1pm – 4pm
Sunday 1pm – 4pm
  • One visit per day for each resident
  • Up to 2 people for that one visit
  • Visitors will enter by 1 designated door in the home
  • Additional care and support visits can be discussed with site manager.

From 1 May, it is mandatory that all visitors, including children (aged under 6 months exempt) have evidence of an up-to-date (i.e. 2020) flu vaccination. On your first visit, please provide proof which we will request on entry. Evidence can include a statement or record from a health practitioner, an immunisation history statement available from Medicare online or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

At every visit prior to entry, visitors will be required to:

  • undertake hand hygiene
  • have their temperature checked
  • sign in via reception
  • complete a visitor declaration

Visit information

  • Visits can occur only in the resident’s room or outdoor areas within the home and not in communal areas
  • Social distancing of 1.5m should be followed where possible
  • When directed by staff, visitors will be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

On departure

Please complete hand hygiene again when leaving and sign out via reception.

Please be assured that specific plans will continue to be developed for exceptional circumstances, such as end of life care and this must be discussed directly with the site manager.

We continue to encourage families to use alternative means of communication, such as FaceTime, Skype, SMS, and email to keep connected to residents.

We will continue to maintain essential services (with social distancing instructions and strict contractor declarations), including:

  • Health professionals
  • Medication and food delivery
  • Essential plant, system & equipment repairs, fire equipment compliance.

New admissions to residential sites are welcome. Click here for more information.

Other sites (health clinics, community services offices, catering and corporate offices)

To stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) we ask that you do not enter if you, or anyone living under the same roof as you:

  • have a fever over 37.5C or is unwell with flu like symptoms
  • have had contact with known or suspected case of COVID-19
  • have returned to South Australia from Vic, NSW or overseas in the last 14 days, or
  • have been to Adelaide airport in the last 14 days

You will be required to sign a declaration upon entry.

Indoor communal space closures – retirement living

Following the updated SA Health guidelines for retirement villages, all ACH Group community centres, halls, libraries and Men’s Sheds have re-opened.

The following restrictions will be upheld in order to remain open:

  • Gatherings of a maximum of 50 people
  • 1 person per 2 square metres
  • Keep 1.5 distance from others
  • Record details of attendees
  • No food or drinks
  • Strict hand hygiene

Facilities will also continue to be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis.

Residents are therefore welcome to access community spaces and re-connect whenever they like, however in doing so, they are obligated to follow the above restrictions and should be mindful of the risks of meeting in large groups and the necessity of maintaining ‘social distance’.

Outdoor spaces such as community gardens, dog park and BBQ areas remain available, but we remind residents of the risks of meeting in large groups and the necessity of maintaining ‘social distance’.  Current Government recommendations are if people are to gather outdoors, there is a limit of no more than 50 people / 1 person per 2m2.

Program Changes

Program Changes

Health – Exercise groups 

We are pleased to announce that exercise groups that use gym based equipment are now open.

All other groups will remain on hold.

In the meantime, we are continuing to support customers with their at-home programs.

Session passes will be suspended until groups are reopened and any credit will remain in our system.

1:1 therapy services are still occurring as social distancing requirements can be fulfilled in addition to health status screening for both staff and customers.

 

Social experiences

Due to Government restrictions easing, Art Groups and Sing for Joy Choir are now open. Call 1300 22 44 77 or email enquiries@ach.org.au to book in.

All other groups will remain on hold.

People can remain connected at home by joining our Virtual Choir, Let’s Chat Group and Get Connected Program.

Single person social experiences, such as fishing, remain unaffected.

Due to COVID-19, changes include ACH Group and Government requirements to:

  • Not attend the class if you or anyone living under the same roof as you:
    • have a fever over 37.5C or is unwell with flu like symptoms
    • have had contact with known or a suspected case of COVID-19
    • have returned to South Australia in the last 14 days (interstate or overseas)
    • have or have recently had symptoms such as loss of taste or smell or nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • Follow good hygiene practices especially thorough handwashing and coughing/ sneezing into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Undertake a COVID-19 declaration and have your temperature taken at the beginning of each class.
  • Clean your seat used with wipes provided before and after each session.
  • Abide by the 1.5m physical distance at all times
  • Bring your own drinks and food, if required, but not to share with anyone in the class. ACH Group is currently unable to provide food and drinks.
More Information

More Information

SA COVID-19 Information Line – 1800 253 787

This line is available to South Australians and provides local information on COVID-19 to the general public from 8.00am to 8.00pm 7 days per week.

COVID-19 App

The Australian Government Department of Health has released a COVID-19 app to help you stay informed during these uncertain times. The app provides the latest information on COVID-19 and available both in the Apple App Store and on Google Play Store.

CoronaVirusApp

Let’s help stop the spread and stay healthy. Visit australia.gov.au for more information.

SA Health Website

For general information about Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the Australian Government Department of Health website  https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

Or you can phone the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. This service runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Coronavirus Australia” WhatsApp Service

Join the official government WhatsApp channel to get daily updates on COVID-19.

Information Sheet: It’s OK To Have Home Care

The Australian Government Department of Health has published an information sheet about home care guideline during COVID-19. Click here to view or download the info sheet.

Mental Health Resources – Beyond Blue

This is a difficult and unsettling time, and if you need mental health support you can call the Beyond Blue Support Service. The free and confidential service is available every day to all Australians online from 3pm to midnight AEST or 24 hours a day by phone on 1300 22 4636.

The Beyond Blue Online Forums have a dedicated ‘Coping with the Coronavirus outbreak’ section for anyone seeking a safe and anonymous place to discuss their mental health and wellbeing.  For practical information and tips, please visit Beyond Blue – looking after you mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line – Call 1800 632 753

For mental health support by phone and video in relation to COVID-19, contact the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line by calling 1800 632 753, available 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, 7 days a week). This service can also provide follow-up calls.

Mental Health Emergency – call 13 14 65

For assistance in a mental health emergency, contact the mental health triage service – telephone 13 14 65 available 24 hours, seven days a week.

Translation Services

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

Resources

Resources

Hand washing guide

How do I wash my hands properly? Follow this guide provided by WHO (World Health Organisation) to learn how to wash your hands thoroughly to help fight against COVID-19.

HowToWashHands

Social distancing guide

Social distancing helps slow the spread of COVID-19. Here’s a quick guideline on social distancing.

HowToSocialDistance

Please visit Australian Government Department of Health for more info.

COVID-19 General FAQ

How does the virus spread?

COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious.
  • Contact with droplets from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes, or
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth, nose, eyes or face. Most infections are only transmitted by people when they have symptoms. These can include fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness and shortness of breath.
How can we help prevent the spread of the virus?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and social distancing is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser unless your hands are visibly dirty
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser or wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Maintain a good social distance. It is recommended to stay at least 2m away from others.
What do I do if I develop symptoms?

If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath), you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment. It may be possible for this to happen by phone. Please call your doctor’s surgery in advance for instructions. When you telephone your doctor’s surgery (or health+ clinic or hospital if it is not possible to contact your doctor), you should tell them your travel history and if you may have been in contact with a potential or confirmed case of coronavirus. If you are severely unwell, such as having difficulty breathing, call 000 (triple Zero)

If you are a customer of ACH Group’s we ask that you advise us immediately if you are being tested or diagnosed with COVID-19 so we can ensure your safety and that of our workforce.

Who is at most risk of serious illness?

Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly. From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:

  • People with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer
  • Older people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Very young children and babies, and
  • People with diagnosed chronic medical conditions.
What measures are ACH Group taking to control the spread of the virus?

All front line staff undertake temperature checks at the beginning of their shift. Our staff are also skilled in infection control and the use of PPE if required. Strict hygiene practices are used and all sites require visitor declarations to be completed prior to entry. All ACH Group Residential Care homes have restricted access to keep our residents and workforce safe.

How can I stay in touch with my loved one in residential care?

Visiting hours are 7 days a week between 1 and 4pm, and 6 – 8pm on Tuesday’s and Thursday evenings. For more information on visiting requirements, please visit our ‘Site Entry Requirements’.

Outside of these hours, we are prioritising ways to help keep you connected with your loved ones, and are using technology across all homes to facilitate this. We have heard of lots of heartwarming stories and seen photos with site staff, families and residents all coming up with lovely ways of staying in touch.

How can I keep my home hygienic?

Consider what is essential to your care and reduce the amount of people coming in and out of your home where you can. Talk to us about what you consider essential and what can be put on hold for now.

Be assured all our workers understand the necessity for good infection prevention controls when providing services.

Should Support Workers be wearing masks?

It is not necessary to ask your support workers to wear face masks. They will wear a face mask when it is clinically indicated. Surgical masks in the community are only helpful in preventing people who have coronavirus (COVID-19) from spreading it to others. If you are well and your support worker is well, you do not need to wear surgical masks as there is little evidence supporting the widespread use of surgical masks in healthy people to prevent transmission in public.

All Support Workers will wear the appropriate personal protective equipment when it is clinically advised to do so.

What happens if my regular Support Worker can no longer provide my services?

As part of our normal service, if your regular Support Worker is currently unable to attend for any reason, ACH Group will organise a replacement worker to provide your services.

Why is this virus so dangerous for older people?

The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases with age. The highest rate of fatalities is among older people, particularly those with other serious health conditions or a weakened immune system. There is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19, or immunity in the community.

For people living with dementia or some form of cognitive impairment, the ability to follow instruction or to alert others about potential symptoms may be a challenge. This is especially so where there is a limited capacity to communicate verbally or express pain and discomfort. In this situation, observation by someone who knows the person with dementia may assist in identifying changes in their health.

Are other vaccinations important?

It is very important that you reduce your risk of getting other illnesses while COVID-19 remains in our community. There is no vaccine for COVID-19. However, it is important that you get the 2020 flu vaccination as soon as possible.

Discuss with your doctor whether you should have a pneumococcal vaccination against pneumonia, which is recommended for everyone over 65. You should also discuss having a shingles vaccination.

Please note – as of 1 May anyone entering or working at an Aged Care Home must have had an up to date flu vaccination.

I have a Home Care Package - what does this mean for me?

Customers with Home Care Packages have flexibility with how they spend their funds over a wide range of care and services to support to stay safe, healthy and independent in their home.

With support from the Australian Government, ACH Group is working hard to meet people’s needs during this crisis.

The services you currently receive through your Home Care Package will continue. However, there may be some changes to the way service is delivered. For example, home care staff may change the way that personal care is done to limit person-to-person touch where possible, or wear masks and gloves where they may not have previously.

If you are concerned about the way your current services are being delivered or would like to make changes to your services because of the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact ACH Group. You can also speak with us about changes to your usual services, such as arranging help to go to the shops or arranging your carer to shop on your behalf.

The government is encouraging people aged 70+ to self-isolate. If there are extra services you require such as tasks that family or friends may have assisted you with, please speak to your Advisor as additional funding may be available to cover these services for you.

If we need to make changes to your package due to developing restrictions, we will let all customers affected by any changes know, if and when these changes occur.

The Australian Government Department of Health has published an information sheet about home care guideline during COVID-19. Click here to view or download the info sheet.

I need additional medical / health services – where can I go?

As part of the COVID-19 National Health Plan the Australian Government has increased access to bulk billed MBS telehealth and telephone services and fast tracked electronic prescribing of medicines.

The Australian Government’s Telehealth scheme allows doctors, nurses and mental health professionals to deliver services via telehealth (video link) or by telephone, provided those services are bulk billed, to those people who are 70+ years of age (or 50+ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people); people self-isolating at home; or those with chronic health conditions or are immunocompromised.

Patients are encouraged to contact their health service providers to ask about the availability of telehealth and telephone services. Examples of possible video applications include FaceTime and Skype, noting that medical practitioners must be satisfied that their chosen options for telehealth and telephone services meet current standards and laws regarding privacy and information security.

The Australian Government is creating measures to allow prescriptions remotely and have their medicines home delivered to reduce their potential exposure to COVID-19. This measure complements the expanded use of telehealth under Medicare, and is available to those people who are 70+ years of age (or 50+ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people); people self-isolating at home; or those with chronic health conditions or are immunocompromised. The Australian Government will fast track the implementation of electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) to help protect people most at-risk in our community from exposure to COVID-19. This will allow a doctor to prepare an electronic prescription that patients will then be able to electronically share with their pharmacy, where the pharmacy is able to support the home delivery of medicines.

More information on the COVID-19 National Health Plan is available at https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-national-health-plan-resources

Can I get help if I can’t buy things at my local shops?

ACH Group have a SHOP and DROP service where can do your shopping and either deliver it to your door or unpack it for you.

Rest assured we will deliver a safe service with our highly equipped staff who are trained in infection control and will do everything possible to protect you, your family and home. We can also cater to a variety of payment methods.

English is my second language; how can I access information on COVID-19?

If English is your second language, you may prefer to access translated information on COVID-19 prevention and support from the Australian Government Department of Health in a range of different languages. Visit: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/translated

Further COVID-19 Information

The Australian Government Department of Health website provides general information on coronavirus (COVID-19).

For general information about Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the Australian Government Department of Health website,  https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

Or you can phone the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. This service runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.