In light of the evidence that older people are more susceptible to contracting and being seriously affected by COVID-19, a highly precautionary approach has been adopted across the aged care sector in responding to the pandemic, based on the latest and best medical advice.
This approach has included restricting visitors’ access to residential aged care services, and screening visitors and staff on entry to residential facilities.
Our decision at Ballan District Health & Care (BDHC) to restrict visitation is not taken lightly and at all times the safety and wellbeing of residents is key to our response.
Community Update: 23 September 2020
Dear residents and families
Thank you for helping us to keep Ballan District Health & Care COVID-19 free.
We understand that this has been a challenging time for families, and we would like to assure you that our staff have worked very hard to ensure the emotional and mental wellbeing of our residents and engage them in adapted programs.
Regional Victoria has now entered the ‘Third Step’ of the Victorian Government’s regional roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions.
In line with this easing of restrictions, and with consistently low COVID-19 case numbers in regional Victoria, from Wednesday 23 September 2020, Ballan District Health & Care will allow restricted visitation to immediate family members from regional Victoria.
Visiting bookings and guidelines
Coming to see a resident in our aged care facility requires approval and must be in line with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Care Facilities Directions, which state any visitor must be:
- Providing essential physical, emotional or social care that cannot be delivered by the care team or via electronic or non-physical means
- Commencing Wednesday 23 September 2020, visitors – from regional Victoria only – need to call us between 9:00am and 12:00 noon, Monday to Friday to make a booking. To visit a loved one in the Hostel, please call 0447 579 334, and for the Nursing Home and MSU, please call 5368 1100
- Visiting time will be between 10am and 6pm, but please be aware of meal times (lunch is at 12 noon, dinner is at 5pm)
- There will only be two entry points to the facility for visits – for the Hostel, entry will be via 168 Inglis Street, and for the Nursing Home and MSU, entry will be via Hospital Reception at 33 Cowie Street
- Residents can meet with one immediate family member, once a day, for up to one hour. No one aged 16 years and under may enter (exceptions apply)
- Residents will only be able to meet with their loved ones in their room
- All visitors will be screened upon entry. This will include being asked a series of questions, having your temperature checked and being asked to provide proof of a 2020 influenza vaccination
- When you enter our facility, you will need to sanitise your hands
- You will need to wear a face mask and PPE – staff will assist you to put these on as you enter the facility. Your mask and PPE must remain on for the duration of your visit, including when you’re alone with your loved one in their room. The consequence of not abiding by this requirement is that your visiting will cease
- Social distancing and good hand hygiene are to be practiced at all times
Protecting our most vulnerable
Low COVID-19 case numbers are encouraging and prove that physical distancing measures are working, but Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has warned Victorians that this is not the time to relax our strong approach – this disease can spread very quickly, so we MUST remain vigilant to ensure the health and safety of our most
Please DO NOT visit our facility if you:
- Have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not met the criteria for discharge from isolation or are awaiting test results
- Have returned to Australia from overseas in the last 14 days
- Have had known contact with someone who has COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees, or symptoms of acute respiratory infection, ie breathing difficulties, breathlessness, cough, sore throat, runny nose or fatigue
These visiting directions will be in place until further notice.
In the event that a resident’s condition deteriorates, or if COVID-19 case numbers begin to rise in regional Victoria, we will review these arrangements.
To find out more about the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Care Facilities Directions, please download: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/care-facilities-direction-no-11-13-september-2020-covid-19-pdf
To find out more about the regional Victoria roadmap to a new COVID Normal, please visit: https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmaps
Thank you for your understanding, and for helping to keep our residents, patients and staff safe.