The Mirror News

COVID-19 UPDATE

Foster and Toora Medical Centres

WE are excited to announce finally that the Respiratory Clinic is complete and open for business. After weeks of preparation and modification of the ‘rail trail end’ of the medical centre, we now have 3 rooms especially set up for patients with respiratory complaints to be assessed and tested. 

Soon after the Federal Government announced their intention to set up 100 GP-lead Respiratory Clinics nationally, we were approached to register our interest in being involved. A great deal of internal wide ranging discussion and debate followed, at the time when we were expecting an avalanche of cases of COVID-19. We decided to proceed with the knowledge that this would enable us to guarantee our community local, prompt and safe testing, and our doctors a sure supply of PPE, when that was predicted to be in short supply in the future. 

The clinic is intended to see patients with mild to moderate symptoms only, and in that respect is really only an extension of what we have been offering through our ‘fever clinic’ for the past 2 months. Telephone triage will precede any face-to-face contact and patients who meet the criteria for testing (and that is changing regularly!) will be required to self-isolate until their result is back, when management will be handed back to their usual GP.

Of course, things have changed a lot in the last 2 months and we are so fortunate not to be in that ‘avalanche of cases’ that was predicted early on. The suspicion is that there are other chapters to this COVID story and that the Respiratory Clinic will have an ongoing role for sometime ahead.

In other news it is pleasing to see that more patients are making appointments with their doctors, either face-to-face or by phone. (We are currently looking into an easy-to-use, secure, video consultation platform…more to come!) The message of the past few weeks seems to be getting through…please do not ignore your own personal health in the midst of this pandemic. Maybe now is the time to think about Quitting the smokes and looking after those lungs, especially with flu season around the corner. Chat to your doctor.

South Gippsland Hospital (SGH)

THE hospital has continued to work closely with the neighbouring health precinct partners, the sub regional health services, and as part of the Gippsland cluster, led by Latrobe Regional Hospital.

Our role has been to support Bass Coast Health (BCH) to be the designated Coronavirus(COVID-19) health service. As a result, the Bass Coast Health maternity service relocated to Foster on Monday 6 April and this has proven to be a great success, with 9 births out of 12 for the month of April coming from BCH. This expanded service required us to increase the District Nursing service (which now provides an additional third round), and develop the Hospital in the Home service, which goes live this week.  

With surgery now being allowed to recommence in increments, our highest risk patients are being referred through to Gippsland Southern Health Service, one of our other key partners. We just don’t have the physical space at the moment to be doing surgery, and will not be resuming surgery until our new theatre is fully commissioned by mid-June. This is the safest approach and we thank our community for their understanding. 

As we get closer to hearing from the Premier in relation to next steps for Victoria as a whole, our focus has shifted to recovery. We are planning locally and across the subregion, on how to return to a more business as usual model, noting there will be some things we keep during the life of the pandemic. We will work with Bass Coast Health to ensure a seamless transition of maternity care back to them, when the time is right. It is thought this will take some weeks to work through, and women will be contacted when the plan is finalised. 

As part of our contribution to the state-wide testing blitz, SGH will be testing asymptomatic staff this week, and some of our home based asymptomatic clients. You will remember that our Urgent Care Centre is not a 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) and BCH have respiratory clinics. 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 BCH 5671 3333.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only and for up to date information go to:www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

 Prom Country Aged Care  

A HUGE thankyou to our staff, families and residents for your ongoing support and understanding during these times. All of our care team both front line staff and back of house staff have been exceptional throughout this pandemic and what is now entering our 8th week of restricted movements and feels like an eternity. Your continued commitment to the care of the residents in Prom Country House has not wavered and we are extremely thankful and grateful to you all individually for the sacrifices made and the ongoing commitment during such uncertain times. 

There is some light on the horizon with the curve looking like it has been flattened and potential easing of restrictions in the wider community looking likely. Whilst this provides some hope of a return to the new normal (whatever that may look like), as you can appreciate Aged Care facilities remain in an extremely high-risk category should the virus enter our community, so the easing may take longer in Aged Care communities.   

Our largest concern currently 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.   

Prom Country Aged Care continues to have no cases amongst our staff, contractors, residents or visiting medical staff.  

At this stage we continue to restrict movements into the facility until the May 11, 2020 and are allowing visits on compassionate and carer grounds.     

In addition, family visits are possible 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 is also 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 your 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 who in the family should be the visitor as opposed to large amounts of different family members visiting a resident. 

A reminder also that any visitor to an aged care facility from May 1, 2020 must have had a 2020 flu vaccination and be able to provide proof of evidence to be allowed access. This is Victorian Department of Health requirement facilities must comply with or risk large fines and even loss of accreditation.  

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

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