COVID-19 Information Update (April 23rd, 2020)

Visitor Access

Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked Aged Care Providers not to impose harsher visitor rules than those recommended by health experts, as he believes restrictions will impact the health and wellbeing of residents.

Ballarat Health Services, in consultation with State health experts, are planning a phased approach to re-opening visitor access, with the primary consideration being the protection of our most vulnerable members of the community, as a COVID-19 surge is still a very real possibility.

The incidents of COVID-19 in our community is currently low, but International data shows that 30% of aged care residents appear to be asymptomatic while positive and that 52% of reported deaths have been older people living in residential care or assisted home living. Recently, we have seen a second wave of COVID-19 cases in countries who have relaxed social isolation restrictions early.

Taking all the above into account, planning has commenced on the phases of re-opening visitor access to our facilities. BHS will only activate the re-opening plan once we are confident that we can protect the health of the older people residing in our facilities.

Flu Vaccinations

Further to our communication regarding the mandatory influenza vaccination program, our staff have enthusiastically taken up the opportunity to be vaccinated.

I highly encourage you to 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 family and friends who may also visit in the future, post COVID-19.

Social Engagement

Our social engagement activities continue to be enhanced as the WiFi capability increases and new mobile devices have been purchased. Our community has also been active and engaged in communicating with residents through writing letters and sending artwork. The health, well-being, and social engagement of the residents in our care are our highest priority.

BHS understands that it is a difficult time for everyone and want to thank you for your understanding and support during this time. 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.