COVID-19 Update 22 October 2020
Posted on October 22, 2020
WA is doing exceptionally well managing the COVID-19 pandemic and thankfully at present, there is no community transmission of the virus within WA. We are also pleased that Juniper has had no confirmed cases of the virus in our residents or staff.
In accordance with the WA Directions, visitors are still required to comply with visiting arrangements including pre-booking visits and completing health screening checks on arrival. Visiting hours may differ across sites. Please confirm visiting arrangements with the Residential Manager at your facility.
Juniper is prepared as well as we can be in the event of both community transmission in WA or a positive COVID-19 test result within our residential facilities.
We have worked to ensure we have a comprehensive COVID-19 outbreak management plan in place that is constantly being reviewed and updated as new information comes to hand. Our plan includes: infection control, visitor guidelines and communication, staff training including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), additional cleaning, safe meal provision and management of waste. Juniper also has a trained emergency workforce ready if needed.
What to expect if there is community transmission of COVID in WA
Should Juniper receive confirmation of community transmission in WA, our response will be guided by advice from the WA Health Department’s Public Health Unit , the COVID-19 Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities Directions, and the Industry Code (Visitor’s Code) for visiting RCFs during COVID-19. Our response will be dependent on where the transmission is located in WA, however Juniper will likely err on the side of caution and increase visitor restrictions to ensure residents and staff are as safe as they can be.
What to expect if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in a Juniper residential care facility?
If an outbreak is declared at a Juniper residential care facility, we will take action to ensure everyone is kept safe and that we can isolate the resident/s who have tested positive for COVID-19. Residents may be required to undergo a COVID-19 test (ie. with a nasal swab), and visitor entry will be restricted.
- If a resident tests positive for COVID-19:
- If a resident is COVID-19 positive or is near someone who is, the resident may need to be isolated in their room or moved to another room to prevent the spread of the virus. This will be done in a way that is sensitive to the resident’s needs, including taking care of their belongings. Belongings may need to be stored away in a safe place during this time.
- If there is a need to transfer a COVID-19 positive resident from the residential care facility to an acute hospital or other facility, this will be assessed and discussed with the resident, their nominated family member or representative, the resident’s GP and the WA Department of Health’s Public Health Unit. It will be important for Juniper to ensure the right level of care is in place for the resident, wherever that may be.
- If a resident tests positive for COVID-19 their nominated primary contact will be contacted immediately. We will maintain regular contact with this person to ensure they are informed of any critical changes or information as soon as possible.
- While caring for residents is our number one priority, we understand that this is a time of uncertainty and family members will have many questions about their loved one’s wellbeing. If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at a facility, residents’ primary contacts will be notified and kept informed of the situation. They will be:
- Emailed within an hour advising of the outbreak.
- Phoned within approximately 4 – 6 hours of the outbreak being declared with an update on the situation.
- Kept updated through regular contact from the residential care facility.
- Staff will be required to wear PPE such as gloves, gowns, masks and glasses to assist with stopping the spread of the virus. There may also be new staff at the facility assisting with care.
- Staff will continue to provide the best level of care possible and will monitor all residents closely for any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Residents may receive their meals on a disposable tray with disposable cutlery, crockery and bottled water. This is to avoid the spread of infection.
- A Juniper 1800 hotline, call centre and COVID-19 email address will be activated to provide information, and respond to queries from residents’ families and representatives.
- Telephone and video calls (scheduled in advance) will be available to keep family connected with their loved one.
- If an outbreak is declared, it is possible residents may be unable to leave the facility (i.e. to go home with family) and will be advised accordingly.
- We will also advise residents and their primary contact if there is a COVID-19 outbreak at another Juniper residential care facility and provide regular updates on our website juniper.org.au.
Additional information on what residents and families can expect during an outbreak can be found on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/consumers/covid-19-consumer-resources.