25th April 2020
To all families and friends of Pennwood Village residents,
I have received some feedback about the comments made this week by Prime Minister Scott Morrison regarding aged care facilities and visitor restrictions. Please be aware that the SAPOL State Emergency Management Direction 2020, with which all aged care providers in SA are required to comply, currently governs the issue of visits to Aged Care Facilities in SA.
The Prime Minister’s media statement is inconsistent with the SAPOL State Emergency Management Direction 2020 and has no legal enforceability.
LASA (an industry peak body) is strongly and swiftly advocating to the Aged Care Minister to immediately clarify and resolve the complexities and confusion caused by commentary about allowing more visitors into residential care.
Australia still has a long way to go in the fight against coronavirus and the aged care industry, who care for the most vulnerable to COVID-19, remain totally focused on the protection of residents and staff. This situation, as you are all aware, has been unprecedented, fast moving and changing on daily basis.
Please be assured myself, the Director of Nursing, Dubravka Blazevic and the Board of Directors are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation with the focus being on the safety and wellbeing of the residents and staff. This is a complex situation and each week the management team and Board of Directors are continually assessing and reviewing the risks, with the focus being on keeping the virus out of the facility. I am sure you all understand if the virus was to find its way into Pennwood the outcome would/could be catastrophic. You only need to look at the media stories coming from overseas to see how quickly this virus can spread in an aged care facility and the devastation it can cause.
Our focus is, as always, on the health, safety and wellbeing of the older people who call Pennwood Village home. To put it simply, our main risk management strategy has been to reduce/limit the amount of people coming into facility, and closely monitor the health of those who must to come in, staff, contractors, GP’s etc. This means that many of our administration and management staff have had to quickly adapt to working from home, in line with recommendations across the general community.
Yesterday we conducted a mini survey with sixteen of our residents, interestingly 14 of those 16 residents said at this stage they are not comfortable with visitors coming into the facility.
One resident said they would be comfortable with visitors coming in, and one said they would only be comfortable with visitors coming in if they were wearing full personal protective equipment. We plan on extending this survey over the next week to capture as many residents as possible.
This creates another complexity for us to manage, as it is their home. If you reflect on the control you have over your own home, and who comes in and out, and then consider how you may feel if you didn’t have that control, in these current times. As always, at Pennwood the resident’s thoughts and wishes are at the centre of our decision making processes, and are always considered and respected. Sometimes people’s actions can inadvertently affect another person and this is another aspect that we all must reflect on and consider.
We have increased staffing levels in our care, cleaning, kitchen and lifestyle department to ensure we can closely monitor resident’s wellbeing and provide staff with more time to spend emotionally supporting our residents. The staff have been excellent at changing their practices quickly, and utilising technology to ensure you can still keep in contact with your family. We have also increased our Facebook posts to re-assure you all that our residents are NOT locked in their rooms all day, as our PM suggested, they are free to continue their lives as normal and overall they are happy and safe.
We are complying with the SAPOL State Emergency Management Direction 2020 and we have allowed care and support visits over the last few weeks on compassionate grounds and in the event of end of life care. These visits are assessed on individual circumstances and have been conducted in line with federal guidelines ensuring that people are healthy prior to coming in, provided with appropriate personal protective equipment, and have not recently returned from interstate or overseas. As discussed at the online relative meeting held last Thursday, please be assured we will contact you if we notice a decline in your family member’s health or wellbeing, and work with you to ensure the safest and most appropriate outcome for the resident in these challenging circumstances.
We would like to be confident that there is no community transmission of COVID-19, and we are being guided by SA Health and SAPOL’s directions at this stage. We are very lucky here in South Australia to recently see low to zero new cases each day, especially with increased testing occurring and this gives us confidence that we will soon be able to allow more of you to
visit your loved ones in person.
In the interim we thank you for your understanding and your patience. We know this situation is challenging on many levels and I would like to personally thank you all for your understanding and support. The positive comments from families on Facebook have really boosted the morale of staff as this is also a very challenging time for them. I would like to
publicly congratulate the staff on their amazing attitude, genuine care for residents, and acknowledge them for going above and beyond to ensure the residents lives remain as normal as possible. There will be an online relatives discussion again this Friday 1st May at 2.00pm following the success of our first online meeting on Thursday. We welcome your input, and
invite you to attend, a link will be posted to your emails early next week.
As discussed at the relatives meeting last Thursday, we have purchased additional mobile phones that the enrolled nurses carry and are specific to the individual houses.
These are another option available for you to be able to make contact with your relative or enquire about their wellbeing at any time.
These numbers are:
In the event of an emergency REGISTERED NURSE IN CHARGE MOBILE –
Ph: 0484 500 555 (available 24 hours a day)
The below numbers are available between 7.00am and 10.30pm:
ENROLLED NURSE House 1 & 2 – Ph: 0400 041 285
ENROLLED NURSE House 3 & 4 – Ph: 0436 109 385
ENROLLED NURSE House 5 & 6 – Ph: 0417 733 163
Stay safe and take care,