Important information on COVID-19 | Read the latest updates

Important information on COVID-19 | Read the latest updates

COVID-19 Updates and Latest News

Latest News

Southern Cross Care donates to coronavirus clinical trials – 31 March, 2020

The Chief Executive Officer of Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ), Jason Eldering, is pleased to announce that SCCQ will donate $10,000 to the Coronavirus Action Fund.

The Coronavirus Action Fund was established by the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Foundation to raise funds for vital medical research and clinical trials, hospital trials and hospital staff support.

University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research Director and Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician at the RBWH Professor David Paterson said Queensland researchers are set to begin clinical trials of a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Professor Paterson has praised the RBWH Foundation and the launch of its Coronavirus Action Fund for its efforts in helping to raise funds to begin the clinical trials.

CEO Jason Eldering said that the donation demonstrates the commitment of SCCQ to working in partnership with the community, particularly when facing challenging circumstances.

“When we unite to achieve a common goal, we can achieve the extraordinary, particularly when we need to find ways to protect our community,” said Jason. “Supporting researchers to find a treatment is just one way we can demonstrate that the health and wellbeing of our residents, staff and volunteers is our absolute priority.”

SCCQ would also like to thank the residents, staff, families and the public for their support as restrictive measures have been rolled out across our communities. “To our wonderful families who have been very supportive and understanding, I’d like to say thank you,” said Jason. “To our amazing staff, who do such a great job looking after our residents every day, I’d like the say thank you. To the broader community who have been so encouraging and generous toward us, I’d like to say thank you. I understand that this is a challenging and worrying time for residents and their families, and I’d like to reassure you that we’re doing everything we can to protect, love and care for our residents.”

If you’d like to donate to the Coronavirus Action Fund, you can do so here: https://www.rbwhfoundation.com.au/coronavirus-action-fund/ and Jason is encouraging anyone who is able to donate now.

Advice regarding leaving residential aged care facilities from the Queensland government – 27 March, 2020

We are continuing to monitor the changing situation with relation to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and need to advise on recent changes to Queensland Government directions controlling access and entry to aged care facilities.

Residents leaving our facilities

  • the advice from the Commonwealth is that all Australians should only leave their homes for brief trips to either seek medical attention or get essential groceries, and that is what we’re asking of our residents and families;
  • residents entering the community for any period of time puts other residents at risk. For this reason the Queensland Government has issued a Direction under the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) that aged care residents are not to leave the facility other than to receive or access health care or in the case of an emergency;
  • SCCQ has closed weekend visitation and restricted visiting hours to by appointment only; and
  • if a resident leaves one of our facilities for any reason, when they return, the resident will be isolated for a period of 14 days.

What happens if a resident is placed in isolation?

Making a decision to isolate a resident often needs to be made quickly and may mean that a resident is moved temporarily.

We will consult with affected residents and where appropriate, nominated representatives in the event that isolation in a different room is considered necessary.  We are mindful of our responsibilities at law and under the Services Agreement that we have with residents, and changes to agreements will need to be discussed with you and documented.  Following any period of isolation away from a resident’s room, we’ll make sure the resident is returned to their normal surroundings as soon as it is safe to do so.

We love, care for and support all of our residents, and will continue to do so to the very best of our ability in these uncertain times. The health and wellbeing of our residents, families and staff remains our utmost priority.

Thank you for everything you’re doing to help us protect everyone in the SCCQ family. We really appreciate that these are challenging and worrying times and are committed to doing everything we can to love and care for our residents and their families.

 

Visitation controls and restrictions for our Retirement Villages – 26 March, 2020

As you will no doubt be aware, the Australian Government has put restrictions in place to protect elderly residents and workers in residential aged care facilities.

As an organisation Southern Cross Care Queensland has several villages which are directly co-located with residential aged care facilities. Within our retirement village portfolio, we also have a median resident age of 80 years which is the segment of the population that the government deems to be at high risk.

In view of the restrictions and protocols implemented within our aged care facilities, and the announcement by the Queensland Government that students should not attend school from 30th March 2020, we have taken the tough yet necessary decision to restrict visitation across all of our retirement villages accordingly.

Effective 5pm Friday 27th March 2020, the following people will be restricted from entry to our retirement villages:

  • People who have returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • People who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • People with fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath).
  • Children aged 16 years and under (exemptions can be assessed on a case-by-case basis, for example, where the resident is in palliative care).

How will visitation be different?

The new restrictions are being put into place to protect you, and to provide reassurance to your loved ones and family members about how these changes will protect our residents, the village and the broader SCCQ community from transmission of disease.

These include:

  • Compulsory attendance by visitor/s to the management office / reception to complete the Visitation Checklist, before attending your unit.
  • Requesting your visitors limit their visit to a short duration.
  • Limiting your visits to a maximum of two immediate social supports (family members, close friends) or professional service or advocacy at one time.
  • Conducting visits within your village unit rather than in communal areas.
  • Requesting your visitors that if they are unwell in any way postpone their visit.
  • Requesting that children under the age of 16 years do not attend the village.

In addition to this, we would recommend that you and your visitors actively practise social distancing, including maintaining a distance of four-square meters at all times.

Ongoing Support

We understand the significant impact this difficult decision may place upon you, the village community and your families. This decision was taken to protect the health and wellbeing of all individuals within our communities.

Your Village Manager remains available to guide and support you where you have any need for assistance. The organisation fully supports your village staff, to love, guide and support you through these unprecedented times. If you need assistance while in self-isolation or social distancing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Manager.

Thank you

Lastly, I wish to thank each and every resident and staff member within our Retirement Living villages. Your patience and understanding in the face of change is to be admired. Your acceptance of the responsibilities COVID-19 has placed upon each of us to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone in the SCCQ family has no doubt been challenging for us all.  However, what has shone through has been remarkable: Our Community Resilience.

 

“Resilience – is the capacity of a system, enterprise, or person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstance.” (Zolli)

 

With the love and respect that you have for each other, for your village and staff and the wider community in which you are connected I know that we will come through these challenging circumstances stronger together.

Our residential aged care facilities are closed to visitors on weekends – 25 March, 2020

The health and wellbeing of residents and staff at Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ) is our priority and we are closely following advice from the Department of Health, which publishes information and updates on its website at www.health.gov.au

Following feedback we’ve received from our residential aged care facilities, staff and families, SCCQ will be implementing further measures to protect the health and wellbeing of residents and staff at our residential aged care facilities on weekends effective from 28 March 2020.

Our residential aged care facilities will be closed on weekends to all visitation from 28 March 2020.
We know that it’s important that our residents, their families and loved ones stay connected. However, we have faced significant issues on weekends with supporting safe visiting to residents at the home in line with Department of Health guidelines. As a result, we will be closing residential aged care facilities on weekends to all visitation commencing 28 March 2020.

We have increased our Lifestyle and Leisure activities program with additional funding to ensure that our residents receive additional opportunities for enjoyment during these times of restrictions. We understand that social and emotional well-being is just as important as physical health and we’re taking steps to make sure our residents are staying busy and having fun with a smile on their faces!

Please note that visits on weekdays during prescribed visiting hours will be by appointment only. To manage the needs of all residents, families are asked to pre-arrange your visits. Please continue to call our reception staff to arrange your visit. As an ongoing measure to maintain a safe environment for our residents and staff, we ask that if you are unwell or have flu-like or respiratory symptom, please postpone your visit until you are well.

Updated protective measures for residential aged care will be issued soon.
The Federal government have increased restrictive measures for visiting residential aged care facilities in the past twenty-four hours, and we will issue these new measures as a separate document very shortly and we ask that you please familiarise yourself with these measures.

Virtual visitation on weekends
Although you will not be able to physically visit with your loved ones on weekends, we encourage our families and residents to make use of virtual visitation. If you have an Internet-connected mobile device or tablet, you can use video-conferencing technology such as FaceTime and Zoom to connect with your loved ones. We have ordered a number of iPads for our facilities for the use of residents in this way and we will let you know when these arrive.

Thank you for everything you’re doing to help us. We really appreciate all the ways in which you’re helping us to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone in the SCCQ family. It’s important that we maintain an open dialogue with all our residents and families so that we can support and assist you in any way we can.

Woolworths launches Priority Assistance for vulnerable customers – 20 March, 2020

Woolworths have launched a Priority Assistance home delivery option for senior Australians and other vulnerable members of our community. This will enable groceries, fresh food and household items to be delivered to you. If you would like to be part of this, you will need to login at the link below and complete a form. SCCQ is already assisting many of our Community Care clients to access this service. If you’re an SCCQ resident and would like assistance with this service, please talk to your management team.

Woolworths Priority Assistance

Updated advice from the Commonwealth government – restrictions on visitation to residential aged care – 18 March, 2020

The health and wellbeing of residents and staff at Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ) is our priority and we are closely following advice from the Department of Health, which publishes information and updates on its website at www.health.gov.au.

Following recent updates from the Federal government and feedback from families, SCCQ will be implementing further measures to protect the health and wellbeing of residents and staff at our residential aged care facilities effective from 19 March 2020.

Visiting our residential aged care facilities

We know that it’s important that our residents, their families and loved ones stay connected. However, we are taking measures to restrict access so that we can prevent the transmission of disease. We are also communicating these measures with contractors, residents, families and other regular visitors to our sites to share the same expectations. These measures include:

  • We have identified a single point of entry and exit, and all visitors will need to check-in and check-out at this point.
  • All visitors will be screened upon entry with questions about recent travel, contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and any current symptoms of illness.
  • We will soon be asking for details of flu vaccination as after 1 May 2020, this will be a condition of entry to the facility.
  • We’ll help all visitors with correct hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette when they check-in and when they leave the facility.
  • Visits to our residential aged care facilities will be restricted to identified time periods.
  • Visits are limited to two visitors per day during the visiting hours. This is designed to minimise the number of potential exposures.
  • A schedule of our visiting hours will be available on our website sccqld.com.au. This may change from time to time and we encourage you to check before visiting.
  • Visitors may include family members, close friends and any social support the resident currently enjoys. Consistent with advice from the Government, we discourage visits by children under 16 years of age.
  • Visitors will be invited to spend time with the resident in their room or in identified outdoor spaces away from communal areas.

As an ongoing measure to maintain a safe environment for our resident and staff, we ask that if you are unwell or have flu-like or respiratory symptom, please postpone your visit until you are well.

Activities and outings

Our leadership team, Lifestyle and Leisure staff and pastoral carers are working hard to ensure that our residents continue to enjoy great care, social interaction and fun activities. Unfortunately, we will have to restrict some activities in accordance with the advice from the Government:

  •  All large group activities, outings and entertainment is currently cancelled except in special circumstances.
  • Any school group visits have been cancelled.

We would like to assure our residents and family members that we will continue to provide high quality, compassionate care to our residents. We understand that this is a challenging and worrying time for residents and their families, and we’d like to reassure you that we’re doing everything we can to protect, love and care for our residents.

Thank you for working with us to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents, staff and volunteers which is, after all, our absolute priority. We will continue to provide updated information as it comes to hand.  We encourage you to check our website for updates at www.sccqld.com.au.

 

Advice on the developing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak – 13 March, 2020

Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ) would like to update our residents, families, staff and stakeholders about the current situation regarding COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus) and other stringent infection control measures as we head into the flu season. We also want to let you know what we’re doing to help protect the health of our residents, families and staff.

The health and wellbeing of our residents and staff is our priority and we are closely following advice from the Department of Health, which publishes information and updates on its website at www.health.gov.au.

You may see signs across our site regarding visiting any of our sites if you are unwell. This reflects the current advice from the Australian Government which recommends:
• Anyone who has returned from a country or region that is at high or moderate risk for coronavirus should immediately self-isolate for 14 days.
• Anyone who comes into contact with a person with suspected or confirmed coronavirus should immediately self-isolate for 14 days.
• Anyone who is unwell or showing symptoms of illness should seek medical advice.

This advice from the Australian Government applies to all persons including anyone living in, working in or visiting our residential aged care facilities, retirement villages and community care network. We are also communicating with contractors and other regular visitors to our facilities to share the same expectations.

COVID-19 is of course not the only infection risk for our residents as we head into flu season. As the health authorities advise, the best way to protect against transmission of infections including rotavirus, influenza or COVID-19 is good hand and respiratory hygiene practices:

• Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser. We have these available extensively across our services to supplement your personal hygiene practices when you are visiting;
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing and dispose of tissues in a bin immediately after use, followed by handwashing and/or sanitisation;
• Avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms such as fever, a cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath; and
• Consider getting the flu vaccination.

For the sake of the health and wellbeing of our residents and staff, we would kindly ask you to avoid attending our service if you are feeling unwell. Even a quick 5 minute visit from an unwell visitor can have a significant effect in spreading infection across our community.

If you are visiting, please be prepared to answer questions relating to the risks identified above, and be assured that we are doing this to look after our residents, staff, volunteers and other visitors.
These measures are in place to ensure that we are doing, and you feel that we are doing all that we can to reduce the likelihood of respiratory or other illnesses affecting our facility.

Globally the COVID-19 situation and the advice from the Australian and Queensland Governments is changing rapidly. We want to reassure you that we are closely following all published advice and ensuring it is implemented across all our services. We would encourage you to do the same, with all updates available at www.health.gov.au

Thank you for assisting us to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents, staff and volunteers which is, after all, our absolute priority. We will continue to provide updated communication regarding all respiratory illnesses that may affect our facility and we encourage you to continue to check back at this page for more updates.

Resources

 

COVID-19 Fact Sheets

Information for for families and residents on restricted visits to residential aged care facilities

This fact sheet outlines what the new restrictions to protect older Australians living in residential aged care facilities mean for residents and their families.

Restricted visits fact sheet for residents and families

COVID-19 FAQs

This fact sheet contains the latest information from the Department of Health regarding new restrictions that took effect 23 March, 2020:

The following facilities are restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation).
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues.
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs.
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery.
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

Full COVID-19 FAQS fact sheet

Information for older Australians

The Department of Health has supplied the following COVID-19 fact sheet for older Australians, their family and friends about how to protect older Australians from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Older Australians

The latest updates from the Department of Health can be found here: COVID-19 updates

Department of Health’s advice to providers of health and aged care: Health and aged care providers

Guidelines for managing outbreaks in residential aged care: CDNA guidelines for managing outbreaks

How to wash your hands effectively from the NHS:

 

 

 

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