Juniper responding to COVID-19

As the status of COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve, Juniper is working hard to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents, clients, staff and volunteers as our highest priority. We are doing everything we can protect our people from the spread of infection. This page will be updated regularly to keep you informed and reassured of Juniper’s proactive responses to COVID-19.

Click here: download COVID-19 Restricted Visiting Guidelines April 2020

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Information for clients, residents & families

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Can I visit my family member in a Juniper Residential Care Facility?

In line with the WA Government’s Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities Directions No 2 (25 April 2020), Juniper is extending restricted visiting arrangements to continue to protect residents and aged care workers from COVID-19. Penalties apply for failure to comply with these entry conditions.

The following people may not enter or remain on the premises of residential care facilities:

  • People who have returned from outside Western Australia (whether from overseas or interstate) in the previous 14 days;
  • People who have had, or have been in contact with someone who has had, a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days;
  • People who have fever (over 38 degrees) or cold or flu-like symptoms (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath);
  • People who have not had an up-to-date (2020) influenza vaccination or valid medical exemption (from 1 May 2020); and
  • Children under 16 years of age, except for the purposes of providing end of life support to a resident (approved by the Residential Manager).

How will the restrictions affect my visit?

If you do not meet any of the above categories, you are permitted to visit a Juniper Residential Care Facility, however the following conditions apply until further notice:

  • All visits must be pre-booked directly with the facility during designated visiting hours which may differ across sites;
  • Visits are not permitted during meal times;
  • Residents are limited to one visit per day of one person or two people at once. Visits should be coordinated with family members and the facility;
  • Visits must occur in the resident’s room. There is no access to common areas;
  • Visits should be as short as possible, to a maximum duration of 2 hours. We recommend limiting visits to 30 minutes;
  • Visitors must enter through the main entrance which will be unlocked by a staff member;
  • Visitors are required to comply with hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing of 1.5m from all residents and staff at all times;
  • Visitors must complete and sign the Visitor Screening Checklist and show evidence of having had the 2020 seasonal influenza vaccination, or a valid medical exemption (from 1 May 2020) on entry to a Juniper residential care facility;
  • All visitors are required to have their temperature checked on arrival and recorded on their Visitor Screening Checklist; and
  • Visitors are required to sign the Visitors Book on entry and exit of the facility.

Why is COVID-19 so dangerous to older people?

The risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 increases with age and older people are among the most vulnerable – particularly those with underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system.

As there is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19 and no immunity in the community, we must all work together to protect older people from infection, particularly those living in aged care.

Should I visit my family member/friend in a residential care facility?

Visiting an older person in care should be carefully considered and only done when deemed absolutely necessary as older people are vulnerable to infection of COVID-19. Although visits are permitted, limiting the number and duration of visits will also help to reduce the risk of accidental infection to your family member, other residents and staff, and will also limit your own potential exposure to COVID‑19.

We recommend keeping in touch in other ways using the phone, letters, video calls or other means of communication. Juniper staff have been using creative ways to engage residents in safe and enjoyable activities throughout the day to lift spirts and help everyone feel connected, safe and happy during this time.

What else can I do to protect my loved one in aged care?

There are many other ways to protect your loved ones from infection. Even if you feel well, it is important to practise good hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing when interacting with others to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Australian Government health advice includes:

  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue;
  • Disposing of tissues immediately they are used, into a dedicated waste bin and washing your hands;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet, and when you have been out to shops or other places;
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers, where available;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces you have touched;
  • Where possible, stay 1.5 metres away from others as part of social distancing;
  • Ensure you get vaccinated against influenza (flu) before 1 May to enter aged care facilities; and
  • If you feel unwell, phone the National Corona Virus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or your GP who will provide you with further advice.

Are residents able to leave the facility with family, to go to the shops, or for an appointment?

Residents are able to leave the facility for essential medical appointments however they should not leave the facility for social leave and non-essential appointments due to the high risk of infection of COVID-19 in older people.

Do any Juniper residents or staff have COVID-19?

Currently no Juniper staff or resident has tested positive for COVID-19.

Does everyone entering a residential aged care facility need to be vaccinated against influenza?

Yes. From 1 May 2020, all staff, volunteers, visitors and contractors to Residential Aged Care Facilities are required to have a current 2020 seasonal influenza vaccination.

In WA, influenza vaccination exemptions are permitted for specific medical reasons, however a valid medical exemption must be obtained from your medical professional and provided as evidence on entry to a Juniper residential care facility. Exemptions for religious or cultural reasons are not accepted.

Do residential aged care providers still need to provide free flu vaccinations to staff & volunteers?

Yes. All Australian Government subsidised residential aged care providers are still required to offer staff and volunteers free access to annual flu vaccinations at the provider’s cost.

Juniper’s influenza vaccination program is currently in progress to ensure all Residential Care staff are vaccinated by 1 May 2020.

Where can I get further information and updates on COVID-19?

  • 24-hour Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080
  • Australian Government Department of Health website: www.health.gov.au
  • Health Direct helpline 1800 300 243
  • Public Health Information Line on 1800 004 599

Links

More information and guides is available about COVID-19:

COVID-19 Restricted Visiting Guidelines April 2020
FAQs For Visitors - Restricted Visiting Arrangements
Australian Department of Health
Western Australian Department of Health
The World Health Organisation

If you have any questions or concerns, please email covid19@juniper.org.au, including your contact number and we will respond.