The Mirror News

COVID-19 update

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

Arguably the biggest news this week was the unexpected arrival of a large order of flu injections. This lead to a very successful third drive-through flu session on Saturday. We obtained permission to run it on Anzac day through the local RSL, who fully supported us with memorabilia to display, badges to give away and an article to distribute honouring the day. Representatives attended in person after their COVID-truncated service in the Main St. Over 500 people received their vaccinations and enjoyed hand-made Anzac cookies handed out by nurses in World War attire (thanks Rebecca and Kristy). Finally the weather behaved itself and this made everything more enjoyable for all. We would also like to thank patients for their generous donations to the RSL.

There will be more flu injections coming in but the prediction is that due to supply issues that our big orders will not be honoured. Rest assured that we have been told that there will be enough eventually for all. Make your appointment with the clinic and we will be in touch with a date and time. The new mobile messaging service saved 100s of phone calls and is likely to be used at least in part in the future.

The Respiratory Clinic-end of the medical centre is almost completed and we are just waiting for the paperwork and announcements to be made before providing more detail. Our Practice Manager (Project Manager!) Heather and our builders need congratulating for an amazing transformation in very limited time.

Again we would like to emphasise the need for patients to continue to look after their known medical conditions during these unusual times. The doctors are finding that people are avoiding seeking help when in normal times they would be and with the flattening of the curve and fewer than expected cases, it really is essential to remember to keep on top of our health issues. After this pandemic is over, there is a real chance in the final reckoning  that the biggest cause of loss of life and illness will not be COVID but normal health problems which have been ignored.

South Gippsland Hospital 

THE world with COVID 19 is certainly keeping everyone in the health care community alert and the information continues to change most days. As with all health care agencies, the South Gippsland Hospital (SGH) board and executive management team continue to be focused and monitor the pandemic closely. Along with the caring and dedicated staff, we continue to adapt as required. We do this in partnership with our local, subregional and regional healthcare partners.  The partnership work being undertaken is so important to prepare for and respond to the pandemic situation as it develops.

Our revised acute care services profile, now entering its fourth week of operation, is the new (interim) business us usual. The legislated access requirements and care zones in the hospital setting ensure safety for the expanded maternity service (which welcomes Bass Coast Shire women), transitional care patients, medical patients with non-respiratory conditions, and those attending urgent care. Whilst our surgical services have been suspended since the first of April (with the exception of maternity care), we now have advice from the Department of Health and Human Services that we can plan for a limited resumption of care. We will provide more information next week regarding how we will achieve this, in the context of our interim service profile, and with the new surgical building becoming available from mid June.  As a first for SGH, the interim Hospital in the Home program will commence over the next week, and this will allow us to help some of our medical patients in their own homes. 

Our community care services have a new business as usual also. As always, they will assess care requirements on a needs basis, however clients now access urgent and essential services, either face to face  (with strict adherence to Personal Protective Equipment), via telephone or telehealth consulting. The latter options form the majority of consultation with the exception of district nursing care.  

Once again we note that our Urgent Care Centre is not a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Assessment Clinic. If you suspect you may have COVID-19, please call the hotline on 1800 675 398. If directed to access an assessment clinic please note that the Foster Medical Centre (FMC) has a testing station (Monday to Friday), as does the Bass Coast Health (open 10am – 6pm 7 days, 235 Graham St, Wonthaggi). Patients who have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 will need to call either clinic ahead first to arrange a time to be screened: FMC 5682 2088 or Bass Coast Health 5671 3333. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only and for up to date information go to: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

Thank you for continuing to support your local health service and for your understanding during this time.

Prom Country Aged Care 

PROM Country Aged Care continues to have no cases in the facility or amongst our staff, contractors or doctors. We continue to test all staff and contractors’ temperatures on entry to the facility and are hypervigilant around sanitation and hand washing.

On 21/4/2020 and again on the 24/4/2020 the Prime Minister and Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer noted at media conferences that Aged Care Facilities must not ban residents from seeing visitors and carers. This has been the focus of the media for the past 72 hours and has raised some confusion in the wider community. 

Prom Country Aged Care, whilst funded by the Commonwealth, operates under Victorian State based legislation and directions, which very clearly requires facilities to restrict movements and allow visitors on compassionate and carer grounds only. 

The industry met with the Chief Medical Officer and Minister for Aged Care on Friday evening and during that meeting it was reiterated that facilities must not isolate residents in their rooms and must allow compassionate and carer related visits.  They were clear their intention was not to allow pre Covid-19 visiting arrangements to facilities at this time and where visits are granted, they must be granted under strict conditions. It was clear from this meeting that facilities must do their best to restrict the virus and protect their residents but also allow visits where considered necessary on compassionate and carer grounds.  

Since the initial decision to restrict movements in the facility PCAC has allowed visitors on compassionate and caring grounds and has been fully compliant with the Government’s regulations. We have also put in place technology options as a way to continue to visit loved ones and have commenced construction of a visitor room which is likely to be completed within the next 2 weeks. 

PCAC considers the health and safety of the residents and staff as our number one priority in all decisions and our largest concern at this time is the potential for an Asymptomatic carrier to bring the Covid-19 into the facility. That is someone who shows no signs of the virus, however, is a carrier and unknowingly and unintentionally brings the virus into the facility, which would be devastating.   

We will continue to restrict movements into the facility until May 11 2020, in line with the Victoria State Government State of Emergency and continue to allow exceptions based on compassionate and caring reasons. 

We have also made the decision to allow access to visitors upon request and under strict conditions during the hours of 10am until 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am and 2pm Saturdays. The number of visits during each time slot will also be restricted. 

Conditions of Visits (other than compassionate and carer visits): 

  • Must be pre booked and within the times allocated;
  • Must have been discussed the with Care Manager or CEO prior to the visit;
  • One person at a time is able to visit; 
  • Are limited to 30 minutes;
  • Social distancing must still occur during the visit at all times; 
  • A series of questions must be answered satisfactorily and a declaration signed prior to each entry; 
  • Temperature of visitor must be tested and recorded prior to entry;
  • Visits must occur in the resident’s room; 
  • Visitors must NOT use common area facilities or toilets. 

Whilst we are allowing additional visits to the facility we ask that you please consider the essential nature of such visits, both your movements and health in the 14 days prior to the visit and if the visit can be completed in another less risky way such as using technology or the newly constructed visitor room once completed. As mentioned above we are particularly concerned about Asymptomatic visitors, those showing no signs of the virus who are potential carriers.  

We are also asking that visits be restricted to immediate family and that families consider whom in the family should be the visitor as opposed to large numbers of different family members visiting a resident. 

A reminder also that any visitor to an aged care facility from 1 May 2020 must have had a 2020 flu vaccination and be able to provide proof of evidence to be allowed access. Anyone who accesses prior to that date must be able to provide evidence of the 2019 vaccination. 

Thank-you all for your ongoing understanding and help in making Prom Country House as safe as it can be as we continue to work though these unprecedented times. 

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to book a potential visit please contact reception on 5682 0800 during business hours.

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