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Important information on COVID-19 for residents, families and visitors

Date: 5 October 2021

Dear residents, families, friends and staff,

COVID-19 update regarding visitors

 As you may be aware, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on 29/09/2021 that aged care residents will be able to host two fully vaccinated visitors per day from 11/10/2021. This is welcome news for residents who haven’t been able to see loved ones during the period of the lockdown.

Please be assured that we will be releasing further communication on the processes required to facilitate the visits in an efficient and covid-safe approach, in particular collection of visitor vaccination status and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) at point of entry. As always, we are waiting and guided by NSW Health which typically releases more detailed directives to the aged care sector in the coming days after the Premier’s press conferences. This is the guidance that determines the visitor access requirements.

It is reasonable to expect that community transmission will remain a threat to our vulnerable residents, particularly with more incidences of asymptomatic positive cases occurring. As such we encourage everyone to adhere to NSW Health orders and work together towards opening up our communities again.

For our staff and essential visitors, we continue to have 48 hours COVID swab testing requirements. We will further communicate in the coming days with respect to visitor bookings and screening process.

Regards,

Logan Nirmalananda

CEO

Jesmond Group

Date: 16 September 2021

COVID Update

Dear residents, families, friends and staff,

NSW Health Advice to residential aged care facilities

We hope you are keeping well and staying safe. We have received a number of enquiries from family members of our residents in relation to visitation to their loved ones in our care homes. While we absolutely understand how much you’d like to see your loved ones, there are Public Health Orders, stay-at-home Orders, and NSW Health Chief Health Officer Advice in place, specifically for residential aged care facilities.

We therefore write to you and provide you an update on how things are going in our care homes and how we are managing COVID-Safe practice day in and day out.

Firstly, we would like to confirm that all staff (100%) including contractors at Jesmond care homes have been fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. We also have a very high COVID vaccination rates for residents at 96%, with the exception of a very small number of medically exempt individuals. Both staff and residents COVID vaccination rates are above the industry average.

Secondly, we will continue to have screening testing in place for staff and residents to identify any concerns early.

Thirdly, we’d like to provide an update on the Advice from the Chief Health Officer to residential aged care facilities below:

By 31 October 2021 any health practitioners attending a residential aged care facility under arrangement by the resident must have at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Visitors

All facilities must:

  • In stay at home areas exclude all visitors, except those providing essential caring functions and end of life visits.
  • ensure that all essential care visitors wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see Additional Advice.
  • ensure all essential visits must be in the resident’s room or a designated area.

Visitors must not enter an RACF at all if they:

  • have been to any close, casual or monitor for symptoms locations in NSW in the last 14 days
  • have been in a stay at home area in the last 14 days and are not an essential visitor
  • have been to Victoria or the Australian Capital Territory in the past 14 days unless providing essential caring functions or for end of life visits.
  • have been to any close and casual contact places of high concern in Victorian, Queensland or the Australian Capital Territory.
  • have been in New Zealand in the last 14 days
  • have COVID-19 symptoms
  • are a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 and are within their isolation period.
  • live in a household with a person who is currently isolating.
  • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

Residents

Residents currently under stay at home Orders

  • Residents are permitted to leave the facility to exercise (go for a walk) provided they;
    • remain within 1km of the facility
    • do not interact with other people outside of the facility
    • wear a facemask or carry a medical certificate or other written evidence signed by a registered health practitioner or a statutory declaration by the person saying they have a physical or mental health illness or condition which prohibits them from wearing a facemask
    • are risk assessed by the facility that they are capable of undertaking exercise in a COVID safe way

Otherwise

  • Residents should not leave the facility except for essential reasons (e.g. medical appointments).
  • Facilities must ensure that residents are provided with appropriate PPE and infection control advice if they need to leave the facility for essential purposes.

Staff

All facilities in NSW must ensure that all staff wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see Additional Advice.

No non-essential staff are permitted in facilities. Staff that are considered necessary for operational purposes must be assessed for risk of exposure in determining their suitability for work in the facility.

Staff must not enter the facility at all if they:

  • are a close or casual contact of COVID-19, prior to completing their isolation and testing requirements. (Staff who are casual contacts are no longer excluded from entry for 14 days from their date of exposure, however should be risk assessed by the facility before returning to work.)
  • from 9 September, live in an area of concern and work outside of that area, and are unable to provide evidence of having received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or evidence of an appointment for vaccination before 17 September 2021. On very rare occasions, there may be a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination.  A COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate is required in this circumstance. Staff may be exempted from this exclusion if they have not been in an area of concern for 14 days.
  • live in Greater Sydney and work more than 50 km outside of Greater Sydney and have not had a COVID-19 test in the preceding 7 days (evidence of the test must be shown). Greater Sydney still includes Wollongong and the Blue Mountains.
  • have been to Victoria or the Australian Capital Territory in the past 14 days and have not had a negative COVID-19 test result
  • have been in New Zealand in the last 14 days
  • have been to any close and casual contact places of high concern in Victoria, Queensland or the Australian Capital Territory
  • have COVID-19 symptoms – fever (37. 5°C or higher) or symptoms of COVID-19
  • are a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 and are within their self-isolation period
  • live in a household with a person who is currently self-isolating
  • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result (except for surveillance purposes)

Please refer to the NSW Government website for further information about the current rules and restrictions in NSW and permits for workers.

For advice on essential staff who are necessary for operational purposes please and call the local public health unit on 1300 066 055 for a risk assessment and further advice.

We extend our appreciation to you, residents, families and staff, for your ongoing support and understanding during this difficult period of time.

Regards,
Logan Nirmalananda

CEO

Jesmond Group

Date: 27 July 2021

COVID-19 Update - NSW

Dear families and friends,

As we anticipate the likelihood of another extended lockdown orders, we take this opportunity to provide you reassurance that the Jesmond Group is well placed to proactively enforce any necessary measures to keep our residents and staff safe.

In keeping with NSW Health’s requirements Jesmond Group, has an outbreak prevention and management plan including a Covid-19 emergency management plan in place for any potential infection outbreaks.

Our corporate governance team monitors health authority updates every day to ensure we are adhering to, and act on, any directives as they are released. 

With the emerging situation in NSW, in addition to our usual processes and protocols for infection prevention and control, we have taken extra measures to protect the health and safety of our residents and employees. This includes the requirement for all workers and visitors to wear masks since 23-June 2021.

Outbreak Prevention and Management Plan

The Jesmond Group’s Outbreak Management Plan covers all aspects of a Care Home’s operations to meet the requirements of NSW Health’s Tiered Outbreak levels. These requirements include:

  • a single site workforce, 
  • additional infection control training, 
  • detailed Infection Control processes and policies,
  • updated visitor and staff screening tools, 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use, and
  • Increased cleaning process

PPE

Key to our Infection Control practices as prescribed by our Outbreak Prevention and Management Plan is the provision and ongoing availability of PPE supplies to our Homes. Each of our care home maintains adequate stock of PPE. Where there is a need to increase a home’s stock of PPE, we are able to deliver all requirements within 24 hours.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

We are pleased to inform you all that our homes have received confirmed dates for the onsite clinics for staff Covid-19 vaccination. We also have a very high expressed interest from staff about the upcoming clinics. We will provide another update in the near future.

Workers in Blacktown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield and Liverpool

In line with the latest rules and restrictions, we have communicated with our workforce, specifically those who live in the western Sydney LGAs that they must have a COVID-19 test once every 72 hours (3 days) in order to be allowed to come to work as an authorised worker.

Family and Resident Support Services

OPAN (Older Persons Advocacy Network) provides assistance for families who would like additional support.

We recommend viewing OPAN’s information videos which you may find helpful:

Outbreak Explainer Video

Date: 14 July 2021

COVID-19 Letter to Families

Dear families and friends,
As Covid-19 cases continue to surge in Sydney and lockdown extends, we understand the impact and challenges it may have on you and your loves. We are with you and on high alerts about suburbs of high-risk including Fairfield, Smithfield, Bossley Park, Fairfield Heights, Fairfield West, Wakeley, Bonnyrigg, Glenfield and West Hoxton. We will continue to keep you informed about things that are happening at our care homes and keep you connected with your loved ones in every way we can.

We have received a few enquiries about our current staff Covid-19 vaccination rate since the announcement was made on 28 June: COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for residential aged care workers with the first jab by mid-September 2021. We are pleased to share with everyone that the Jesmond Group has more than 50% staff have had their Covid-19 vaccines while the rest are in the process of getting vaccinated.

We are an approved provider

As an approved provider, we have always advocated, respected our residents’ choices and preferences, and placed our residents’ safety and health at the upmost. We have had the same commitment to our staff. But even before the mandatory requirements for aged care workers to have Covid-19 vaccine directive, we have been proactively working with the NSW Ministry of Health, Local Health District, Public Health Network, our GPs and most importantly our staff in pursuit of high uptake of Covid-19 vaccination.

Our staff uptake of Covid-19 vaccination is more than 3 times higher than 15% at some large aged care providers. We are proud of our staff members’ commitment to keeping our residents safe and healthy and we are hoping to achieve 100% staff vaccination of Covid-19 as soon as possible.

New Onsite Pfizer Clinic

While we encourage our staff to take paid leave to get vaccinated sooner than later, it is anticipated that an onsite Pfizer clinic will be run in the coming weeks for our staff and residents who have not had it.

Please contact your facility manager for further detail. For more information click here.

Date: 13 July 2021

OPAN Support

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is an independent, free service to support older people and their family members during COVID-19. Families can call OPAN on 1800 700 600. Elder Rights Advocacy (ERA) is the Victorian OPAN member providing direct individual support to older people and their families and can be contacted through 1800 700 600.

Seniors Rights Service and the Older Persons Advocacy Network held a Zoom meeting about the current NSW outbreak, which may be of interest to people in all States and Territories.

Visit OPAN Website here  >  https://opan.org.au/gsydneyfamilyzoom-june2021/

Date: 30 June 2021

COVID-19 Letter to Families

Dear Families and Friends,

We’re writing to provide you some latest update from the NSW department of Health. 

As of 8:30 pm 29 June 2021, facilities located in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour)  must:

  • exclude all visitors, except those providing essential caring functions and end of life visits
  • ensure that all staff and essential care visitors wear a surgical mask. For reasons when masks can be removed please see Additional Advice. All essential visits must be in the residents room
  • ensure that residents are provided with appropriate PPE and infection control advice if they need to leave the facility for essential purposes

Visitors

Visitors must not enter the facility at all if they:

From 1 June to 30 September 2021 visitors should not enter an aged care facility if they have not received a dose of the 2021 influenza vaccine, unless they meet the criteria under the exceptional and special circumstances.

Please read Exceptional circumstances for visiting an RACF.

Residents

  • Residents from facilities in Greater Sydney should avoid leaving the facility except for essential reasons (eg medical appointments).
  • Residents of facilities located in the rest of NSW should not enter Greater Sydney, except for essential reasons and if so, they should wear a mask.
  • Residents in facilities located in the rest of NSW should not attend a gathering with anyone present who has been in the Greater Sydney area since June 21.

Please read Additional information for visits and outings at a residential aged care facility (RACF).

Staff

Staff must not enter the facility at all if they:

From 1 June to 30 September 2021 staff should not enter an aged care facility if they have not received a dose of the 2021 influenza vaccine, unless they meet the criteria under the exceptional and special circumstances.

For advice on essential staff who are necessary for operational purposes please and call the local public health unit on 1300 066 055 for a risk assessment and further advice.

We live in extraordinary times and genuinely understand the impact of current visitation rules may have on you and your loved ones. We will continue to do all that we can to keep you and your loved ones remain connected and please call and make a booking with us in advance for any visit so that we can allocate resources to ensure smooth communication and visit. Also if you have any questions with this updated information, please do not hesitate to contact your facility manager.

Stay safe and well.

Date: 11 June 2021

COVID-19 Letter to Families

Dear families and friends,
As Covid-19 cases continue to surge in Sydney and lockdown extends, we understand the impact and challenges it may have on you and your loves. We are with you and on high alerts about suburbs of high-risk including Fairfield, Smithfield, Bossley Park, Fairfield Heights, Fairfield West, Wakeley, Bonnyrigg, Glenfield
and West Hoxton. We will continue to keep you informed about things that are happening at our care homes and keep you connected with your loved ones in every way we can.

We have received a few enquiries about our current staff Covid-19 vaccination rate since the announcement was made on 28 June: COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for residential aged care workers with the first jab by mid-September 2021. We are pleased to share with everyone that the Jesmond Group has more than 50% staff have had their Covid-19 vaccines while the rest are in the process of getting vaccinated.

We are an approved provider

As an approved provider, we have always advocated, respected our residents’ choices and preferences, and placed our residents’ safety and health at the upmost. We have had the same commitment to our staff. But even before the mandatory requirements for aged care workers to have Covid-19 vaccine directive, we have been proactively working with the NSW Ministry of Health, Local Health District, Public Health Network, our GPs and most importantly our staff in pursuit of high uptake of Covid-19 vaccination.

Our staff uptake of Covid-19 vaccination is more than 3 times higher than 15% at some large aged care providers. We are proud of our staff members’ commitment to keeping our residents safe and healthy and we are hoping to achieve 100% staff vaccination of Covid-19 as soon as possible.

New Onsite Pfizer Clinic

While we encourage our staff to take paid leave to get vaccinated sooner than later, it is anticipated that an onsite Pfizer clinic will be run in the coming weeks for our staff and residents who have not had it.

Please contact your facility manager for further detail. For more information click here.

Date: 10 June 2021

COVID-19 Letter to Families

Dear families and friends,
As Covid-19 cases continue to surge in Sydney and lockdown extends, we understand the impact and challenges it may have on you and your loves. We are with you and on high alerts about suburbs of high-risk including Fairfield, Smithfield, Bossley Park, Fairfield Heights, Fairfield West, Wakeley, Bonnyrigg, Glenfield
and West Hoxton. We will continue to keep you informed about things that are happening at our care homes and keep you connected with your loved ones in every way we can.

We have received a few enquiries about our current staff Covid-19 vaccination rate since the announcement was made on 28 June: COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for residential aged care workers with the first jab by mid-September 2021. We are pleased to share with everyone that the Jesmond Group has more than 50% staff have had their Covid-19 vaccines while the rest are in the process of getting vaccinated.

We are an approved provider

As an approved provider, we have always advocated, respected our residents’ choices and preferences, and placed our residents’ safety and health at the upmost. We have had the same commitment to our staff. But even before the mandatory requirements for aged care workers to have Covid-19 vaccine directive, we have been proactively working with the NSW Ministry of Health, Local Health District, Public Health Network, our GPs and most importantly our staff in pursuit of high uptake of Covid-19 vaccination.

Our staff uptake of Covid-19 vaccination is more than 3 times higher than 15% at some large aged care providers. We are proud of our staff members’ commitment to keeping our residents safe and healthy and we are hoping to achieve 100% staff vaccination of Covid-19 as soon as possible.

New Onsite Pfizer Clinic

While we encourage our staff to take paid leave to get vaccinated sooner than later, it is anticipated that an onsite Pfizer clinic will be run in the coming weeks for our staff and residents who have not had it.

Please contact your facility manager for further detail. For more information click here.