It is vital that we protect our community, which includes our residents, customers and workforce from any outbreak including Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Our priorities are:
- Protecting residents, customers and workforce by minimising the spread of COVID through our community as much as possible.
- Ensure we are fully prepared if any member of our community has tested COVID positive, so we can contain the virus, care for those infected and action the appropriate isolation requirements.
ACH Group’s response to COVID in residential care homes
In the event of a resident testing COVID positive in an ACH Group residential care home, ACH Group works in partnership with SA Health and the Commonwealth Government to implement cohorting plans to minimise the spread of the virus, and prioritise the health, safety, and wellness of residents. Cohorting plans see residents, who have tested COVID positive, and their close contacts, moved to a dedicated ‘red zone’ of the home. Residents who have not tested positive nor are close contacts are cohorted to the ‘green zone’ with free movement and visitors allowed, where possible.
The health and safety of our community has been ACH Group’s priority through the pandemic, and there are a number of measures we have implemented to provide our community with further protection.
- ACH Group has mandated the COVID vaccine and booster for our whole workforce.
- A number of measures are in place for visitors to ACH Group residential care homes. Please refer to the ‘Site Entry Requirements’ tab for full details.
- Anyone entering an ACH Group office, Health Studio 50+, residential care home, or taking part in a group exercise class or social experience is required to show that they have had their COVID vaccine booster within four months of their second dose or a COVID positive result, whichever is later.
- ACH Group requires that anyone awaiting COVID test results does not enter any ACH Group location until they have a negative result.
- In home essential services are being prioritised, allowing us to direct workforce to where there is crucial need.
In accordance with the Emergency Management Directions for SA Government, the following measures are in place.
- All staff and visitors in our residential care homes must wear a mask.
- All staff wear a mask when in a customer or resident’s home and during interactions in the community.
- All necessary safety and infection control measures are in place.
- Increased monitoring of residents for any COVID symptoms.
- All staff at residential care homes undertake temperature checks at the beginning of their shift.
- A COVID screening process in place before a service is delivered and before entry into our residential care homes.
- Strict hygiene practices are used on all sites.
- Our staff are skilled in infection control and the use of PPE if required.
COVID-19 General FAQ
COVID 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.
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 social distance. It is recommended to stay at least 1.5m away from others.
If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) you should have a COVID-19 test. The list of testing sites in South Australia can be found here.
If you feel you need a medical assessment you should arrange this with your doctor. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The COVID-19 vaccines work by preparing the body to defend itself against COVID-19. For more information, visit SA Health FAQs factsheet.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for safety, quality, and effectiveness. The TGA will continue to monitor the safety of vaccines after they are registered in Australia so that they can detect and respond to any safety concerns. The TGA will also publish a weekly safety report that includes data on received reports of suspected side effects and all safety information from Australia and overseas. For more information, visit the TGA website.
More information about the safety of the vaccines can be found on the Department of Health website – are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
It is important to continue practicing good hand hygiene, social distancing and staying at home if you are unwell, especially during the roll out of the vaccine program.
It is very important that you reduce your risk of getting other illnesses while COVID-19 remains in our community. It is important that you get the flu vaccination as soon as possible.
Please note – as of 1 June 2021 anyone entering or working at an Aged Care Home must have had an up to date flu vaccination.
- 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 the service is delivered. Home care staff will be required to wear masks and the way that personal care is done may change to limit person-to-person touch where possible. Staff may also wear gloves where they have not 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 hereto view or download the info sheet.
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
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
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
For general information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines
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.