Aged care facilities braced

Visiting hours at Haddington and Millrace will be restricted from Wednesday, as measures are further tightened to protect residents from COVID-19.
Visiting hours at Haddington and Millrace will be restricted from Wednesday, as measures are further tightened to protect residents from COVID-19.

There are definitely no cases of coronavirus at Haddington or Millrace, Tenterfield Care Centre CEO Fiona Murphy assures us, and procedures are well in hand to protect the facilities' vulnerable residents.

At present there are no cases of the flu or other contagious diseases.

All NSW Health recommendations to combat COVID-19 in an aged care facility have been enacted, and continue to be as updates arrive. All staff have received additional training in the disease and its containment.

Currently visitors are restricted to two per resident at a time, and must meet in the resident's room. Children under the age of 16 cannot visit the facilities. Visitors need to report to the staff on duty and they will be asked to respect all directions.

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From Wednesday, March 25 visiting hours will be restricted to 10am to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm. The Health Department have advised that from May 1 no visitor will be allowed to enter if they haven't had a flu vaccine.

Volunteers are no longer attending, and neither are contractors for non-essential issues.

Staff are encouraged to travel directly from their homes to their workplace, without mixing with the general public on the way to work.

Staff and residents alike have their temperature taken every day. Similarly visitors have their temperature checked on entry, and are asked if they're unwell, do they have flu-like symptoms, and if they've recently been overseas or exposed to the virus.

Daily life continues with residents encouraged to keep active, and activities officers are endeavouring to reduce social isolation. Visitors who have meals with their family are directed to a designated dining area.

Mrs Murphy said the facilities are well-stocked with all supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitiser, which are supplied from central stores.

Groceries are sourced locally and Mrs Murphy said there have been no supply issues.

There has been no need to increase staffing levels yet, but this will be reviewed should there be an outbreak.

Mrs Murphy said every year the centres prepare for flu season and the current regime is similar, but has started earlier in the year. Should a resident be diagnosed with COVID-19, or even the flu for that matter, they are isolated in their room, each of which has an infection control station in their foyer where staff can don PPE before entering then discard as they exit.

Should there be a confirmed case of the virus in Tenterfield, both facilities will go into lockdown.

Despite multiple updates each day from NSW Health and other aged care industry peak bodies, Mrs Murphy said a sense of calm prevails as staff are confident with infection control measures which have been heightened, and there are detailed plans should an outbreak occur.

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