Resident care and protection first priority at Waratah

HammondCare deeply regrets that a staff member at our Waratah aged care home has tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID Waratah announcement Mike BairdHammondCare deeply regrets that a staff member at our Waratah aged care home has tested positive for COVID-19.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Baird said the first priority for HammondCare was ensuring appropriate care for residents who may have been exposed to the staff member, including daily testing. He said measures were in place to stop the spread of infection to other parts of the home and ensuring all other residents are appropriately isolated and well cared for.

The staff member worked in two cottages while infectious. Of the 17 residents in those two cottages, three are not fully vaccinated. All have tested negative to COVID-19 in tests conducted to date. Staff at Waratah who have been deemed close contacts of the care worker have been stood down to isolate at home for 14 days.

All other staff are being subject to daily swabbing.

Mr Baird said HammondCare was working closely with NSW Health, the Aged Care Quality & Safety Commisssion and Commonwealth authorities in its response to the incident.

“We are deeply concerned that residents have been impacted in this way,” Mr Baird said. “We are undergoing extensive testing of all residents in the affected cottages and staff. We will also be testing all other residents at Waratah out of an abundance of caution.”

Family members of the 17 residents in the two cottages were informed yesterday of the situation. HammondCare had dedicated staff to provide clear and regular communication to families of any developments.

Mr Baird said the two cottages at Waratah are in full lockdown. Residents elsewhere at Waratah may have restricted visits from those who have undertaken HammondCare’s Partnering in Care program.

Arrangements for regular contact between residents and their loved ones are in place utilising phone, mail, email and video calling.

“While we are doing all we can for the residents, our thoughts are also with the staff member who is passionate about resident care and distressed about what has taken place,” Mr Baird said.

Since early March 2020, HammondCare has had a comprehensive COVID-19 pandemic plan in operation across all its services, including rigorous screening of anyone entering the service, heightened hygiene and cleaning, and regular 'toolbox' training of staff on infection control.

As well as communication arrangements with resident families, updates on the situation in the home will be provided by email and on the HammondCare website.