Social connection continues with visitor guideline updates

HammondCare continues to prioritise the health and safety of aged care residents while ensuring social connection through visitation, through updated visitor guidelines in NSW and Victoria, reflecting recent changes in both Federal and State Government advice.

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Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, HammondCare has continued to allow visits to residents in aged care within government guidelines, recognising the importance of family and social connection while also protecting health and wellbeing.

General Manager of Residential Care, Angela Raguz, said that recent announcements by the federal and state authorities and had led to some variations to visitor guidelines between states, with some local variations as well.

One recent change comes in light of the Victorian Government's stay-at-home orders for specific suburbs in Melbourne. Since July 2, visitors residing in any of the suburbs with a stay-at-home order in place will not be able to visit HammondCare residential care homes (in Victoria or NSW). This includes visitors from suburbs in these postcodes: 3012, 3021, 3031, 3032, 3038, 3042, 3046, 3047, 3051, 3055, 3060, 3064.

For visitors outside of these 'hot-spot' areas, at Caulfield Village, which consists of smaller cottage accommodation, residents continue to have up to one visit a day by one person for an hour, outside busy times in the cottage, with continued visitor screening (including for flu vaccination) and social distancing within the cottage. 

At the nearby Glens, which is a larger service, residents may have up to two visitors once a day, likewise outside of busy times in the cottage (e.g. meals) and with full screening and social distiancing.

“We are committed to supporting residents and their loved ones to stay connected throughout this difficult time,” Ms Raguz said. “The specific guidelines for each service can be viewed on signage at the entrance to the service.”

In NSW, where state guidelines vary from Victoria, residents may have one adult visitor twice a day and in addition, a child under 16 (who has had the flu vaccination) may accompany one adult on a visit (but not two adults together). Duration of visits are now unrestricted providing it begins within approved visiting hours.

As with Victoria, all visitors will be screened by a concierge and proof of flu vaccination is required for each visit. Signage will display specific hours and conditions for each service.

“There will be times where local teams in both states will use a responsible level of discretion to vary the rules on compassionate grounds,” Ms Raguz said. “These situations will be case by case, and we will make these decisions with as much wisdom and compassion as we are able in the current context that we find ourselves in.

“HammondCare continues to closely monitor the Australian Government Department of Health’s advice, and we are working closely with the sector, to ensure that the actions we are taking are in the best interests of the people in our care.

“The care of the most vulnerable is of upmost importance and our commitment to their health and well-being remains our priority.

“We continue to be impressed by the hard work of the care staff and managers in each service, and express our gratitude to residents, their representatives and families, for their partnership and understanding as we work through this situation together,” Ms Raguz said.

For those who may be unable to visit for any reason, including anyone who is unwell themselves, HammondCare has a range of options for communicating with loved ones and all family representatives have been informed of a special Keep In Touch process by which various communication options can be arranged, including tablets in homes, for video calls.

For further information about Covid-19 restrictions and HammondCare’s response to the pandemic, please call 1800 776 112. 

* This story was updated on July 7 to reflect the changing Covid-19 situation in Victoria including the introduction of stay-at-home orders for certain suburbs and postcode areas.