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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.

Information correct as of 15 February 2021.

Measures We're Taking

Measures we’re taking

In accordance with the directive from SA Government, ACH Group’s Pandemic Team has implemented the following measures to help control the spread of COVID-19:

  • Each visitor must continue to sign in and out individually (not as a couple) for each visit for contact tracing purposes.
  • All front-line staff at residential care homes undertake temperature checks at the beginning of their shift.
  • Strict hygiene practices are used on all sites.
  • All sites require visitor declarations to be completed prior to entry.
  • Our staff are skilled in infection control and the use of PPE if required

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

Site Entry Requirements

Site Entry Requirements

Residential Care

In accordance with the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities) (COVID-19) Direction it is a requirement that all visitors provide evidence of an up-to-date (2020) flu vaccination.

Health Alerts: 

Please do not enter if you have been to any of the locations in the current Health Alerts, at the specific date and times mentioned.

Visiting hours

Due to the COVID-19 screening that remains necessary, visiting hours are 1- 4pm every day and 6-8pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Each visitor must continue to sign in and out individually (not as a couple) for each visit for contact tracing purposes.

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

We 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.
Program Changes

Program Changes

Health Services 

Health Services groups and clinics are now open.

1:1 clinic based Podiatry, Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology and Massage appointments are back on offer.

COVID-19 screening and declaration are applied upon entry to all community sites as well as at off-site groups.

Social experiences

Social groups are now running. Strict hygiene practices are applied.

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

More Information

More Information

SA Health Current Direction details:

Please visit the SA Health COVID-19 website for the latest COVID-19 news. Click here to visit the contact tracing web page.

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?

In accordance with the directive from SA Government, ACH Group’s Pandemic Team has implemented the following measures to help control the spread of COVID-19:

  • Each visitor must continue to sign in and out individually (not as a couple) for each visit for contact tracing purposes.
  • All front-line staff at residential care homes undertake temperature checks at the beginning of their shift.
  • Strict hygiene practices are used on all sites.
  • All sites require visitor declarations to be completed prior to entry.
  • Our staff are skilled in infection control and the use of PPE if required
How can I stay in touch with my loved one in residential care?

You can visit your loved ones in residential care.

Due to the COVID-19 screening that remains necessary, visiting hours are 1- 4pm every day and 6-8pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Each visitor must continue to sign in and out individually (not as a couple) for each visit for contact tracing purposes.

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

We 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.

Victoria

  • Effective from 0.01am, Saturday, 13 February 2021, any person who has arrived from Victoria will be prohibited from entering or remaining on the premises of residential aged care facility (RACF) in South Australia, until they have completed 14 days self-quarantine and submit to COVID-19 testing on day 1, 5 and 12 pursuant to their restrictions.
  • Anyone who has arrived from a low community transmission zone in Victoria before this time (0.01am Saturday, 13 February) is permitted to enter a residential aged care facility (RACF )in South Australia after receiving written confirmation of a day 1 negative test.

New Zealand

  • People from New Zealand and are not permitted to enter an aged care facility (unless they have an exemption and prior approval from the facility and SA Health as a pre-approved traveller).
  • A person present in South Australia having been in New Zealand since 14 January 2021, who has received all three (day 1, 5 & 12) COVID-19 tests as negative and has been in a Low Community Transmission Zone for 14 days is free to move around SA and also enter a Residential Aged Care Facility.

Queensland – Greater Brisbane 

Anyone entering South Australia from Greater Brisbane is prohibited from entering a Residential Aged Care Facility in South Australia within 14 days of arrival.

  • Relatives who travel from Greater Brisbane to provide end of life support to a resident are permitted to visit a residential aged care facility (RACF) within 14 days of entering SA, however, they must wear appropriate PPE while on the premises of the RACF and self-quarantine at all other times.
  • Cross border community members who are permitted to enter and travel in South Australia under the Cross-Border Direction are also permitted to enter residential aged care facilities located within South Australia.

NSW 

  • Anyone entering South Australia from New South Wales is prohibited from entering a Residential Aged Care Facility in South Australia within 14 days of arrival. (Unless they have an exemption and prior approval from the facility and SA Health as a pre-approved essential traveller).
  • Relatives who travel from NSW to provide end of life support to a resident are permitted to visit a residential aged care facility (RACF) within 14 days if entering SA, however, they must wear appropriate PPE while on the premises of the RACF and self-quarantine at all other times.

Visit the contact tracing page  or SA Health page to keep updated with the latest health alerts.

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.

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.

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

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).

Please visit the SA Health COVID-19 website for the latest news on the SA cluster. Click here to visit the contact tracing web page.

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.