Doutta Galla COVID-19

 1 August 2020 

Dear Residents, Families and Friends, 

I am incredibly saddened to inform you that two of our residents who were unwell have passed away. Our sincere condolences have been extended to their families and our prayers and thoughts are with them at this time. Our residents are the heart of the Footscray family and we always feel the loss of a resident, but this has been particularly upsetting. 

There are currently 20 residents in the home who have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, and 17 Footscray staff members who have tested positive. We have two residents in hospital, and another resident who has recovered and now has tested negative. Except for those mentioned in the last update, other residents are not showing any COVID-19 symptoms at the time of writing this update. We will let you know immediately if there is a change in your or your family members health status. 

I anticipate that by the time you receive this update, if you or your family member has tested positive over the past 24 hours, that you will have been contacted directly by Talya or one of her small team of people who are assisting with calls to families. If you have not been contacted, then it means that the test results were negative. 

We continue to talk daily with the Commonwealth Department of Health and the State Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Unit, to review our actions and to quickly make any modifications on the best actions needed to protect our residents and our staff. This has included moving some residents to new rooms. 

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Unit have instructed that now only residents who have previously tested negative will be tested in the future. Testing will continue for those residents on a 3-daily basis, with the next one scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday). 

Tomorrow we are expecting the Aged Care Liaison Service COVID Response Team, a new team set up to support Aged Care Homes, which comprises a nursing team and a medical team which will assess all of our current residents who have a positive test result, and will provide further input into any other management strategies. We are reaching out to as many people and services that we can to get support for our Home and our residents. 

We have engaged a Social Worker who will commence work on Monday 3 August to support residents. Her role will be to spend time with our residents to provide additional emotional support as resident wellbeing remains at the forefront of our care. She will also be available to provide support to families. 

We continue to engage as many additional staff as we can to ensure a complete complement plus extra staff to assist, and as previously advised an additional infection control specialist nurse commenced on Friday. I reassure you that we have enough PPE and continue to receive shipments from the Government stockpile. Staff continue to use PPE as a critical infection control measure. Deep cleans of the home continue, with touch point cleaning and we have extra cleaning staff on every shift. 

As previously advised, Elder Rights Advocates are available to provide additional support to family members. You can contact them on 1800 171 866 for COVID-19 information and support. This phone line is open Monday to Friday 8.30am-6pm. 

If you have an enquiry or concern about your family member, please call the home on 9687 6744 or on our dedicated phone line which is 8580 2447. The email address for written questions or concerns is covid19questions@dgas.org.au. 

We will keep in touch as things change to the situation. A heartfelt thanks you to our residents, families and staff. 

Yours sincerely 

Vanda Iaconese
CEO