COVID-19 Information Update (April 9th, 2020)

Flu Vaccinations

Earlier this year the Commonwealth Government announced a mandatory influenza vaccination program for residential care. Included in the direction is that all people entering a residential facility after 1 May will require vaccination against influenza.

Further to this, Victorian Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton has expanded the COVID-19 direction to restrict access to residential aged care to include a person who does not have an up to date vaccination against influenza, if such a vaccination is available to the person.

Ballarat Health Services has an extensive influenza vaccination program for staff and residents which commenced this week. Our care staff have always been proactive in being vaccinated and it is now mandatory for staff working in the facilities to be vaccinated.

We are working closely with our essential services such as catering, engineering, and domestic services to ensure all staff and contractors are aware of the vaccination requirement and they are being prioritised to receive vaccinations.

It is important that you also prioritise being vaccinated against influenza as you will not be able to enter the facility if you are not vaccinated. It is essential that you understand these changes and communicate this with your family and friends who may also visit in the future, post COVID-19.

Currently, we are developing systems to monitor people coming into the facilities regarding their vaccination status. In addition to the above measure, we continue to implement changes as directed by the Commonwealth and State to screening and monitoring of staff health and well-being.

Over the past weeks we have enhanced our activities program (with adherence to social distancing), are increasing WiFi capability, and are purchasing mobile devices to ensure that our residents stay connected to family and friends through video calls. We encourage you to maintain contact by phone or social communication apps where available and appropriate.

BHS understands that it is a difficult time for everyone and want to ensure that we are working together to protect the health and well-being of our residents. Our first priority must continue to be the health and safety of all people in our care and staff during this time.

If you have any specific concerns regarding our response, or any other issue, please discuss this with the facility Nurse Unit Manager.