Doutta Galla COVID-19

13 October 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Friends,

As I write to you today, all residents and staff at Doutta Galla have now received COVID -19 clearances from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Unit (PHU).  This is so pleasing for all of us and we are grateful to every person who has worked tirelessly to assist with ensuring we are moving towards a good outcome.  This includes every resident and their families who has patiently and with good grace supported all of the requirements placed upon us during this time.

The Doutta Galla Home most recently affected by Coronavirus is our Woornack Home in Sunshine.  Although all the residents and staff have attained a COVID-19 clearance certificate from the PHU, the Home requires one more round of testing for staff and residents.  If results remain COVID-19 negative, the Home will be well on the way to attaining the relevant milestones to be granted full clearance.

COVID-19 has impacted all of us in our personal lives as well as in our professional lives.  We continue to be distressed by the effects of the virus on our residents and our resident’s families who have not been able to see their loved ones.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be extended to all families who have lost loved ones during this time.  We are very saddened to have lost Doutta Galla residents to the virus and on behalf of the Doutta Galla community we have extended our condolences, love and support to each and every family who have lost a loved one.

As the state of Victoria slowly moves closer to lifting some Stage 4 restrictions, and with the changes in the visitor restrictions for residential care homes, Doutta Galla has been able to introduce some family visits.  Each Home has developed a set of guidelines most relevant to the circumstances of that Home to facilitate visits.  Visitors are required to schedule a visit by ringing the Home to make an appointment.

Based on feedback I have received, more communications will come directly from the Homes, rather than from me.  This will include updates and changes to family visit arrangements and means you will continue to see a reduction in the number of CEO Updates in the future.  However, I will provide updates on any significant changes to the organisation or to the State or Federal Government directives which may impact on the provision of services.

As community transmission is lessening, we must still maintain our vigilance as the virus has not been eradicated and there is not yet a vaccine.  We will continue to implement stringent infection prevention and control strategies, including screening protocols, staff training, cleaning regimes, social distancing and hand hygiene practices at each of our Homes.  As the government requirements continue to change, we are modifying our own processes.  Staff are wearing masks and shields or goggles when working with residents, and in some cases gowns, aprons and gloves.

Communications from Doutta Galla is sent directly to the resident and to the nominated resident representative.  If anyone else would like to see this communication, can I please ask you to pass on emails, letters and newsletters. If there are additional people who would like to receive communications directly, can you please let the Home know their details and we can add them to the email list for you.  As a reminder, all of my general communications, including previous letters from me, are available on the Doutta Galla website at https://www.dgas.org.au/coronavirus-updates/ and can be accessed at any time.

We understand this has been, and continues to be, a very distressing time for everyone in the community and especially for those who have family members living in aged care.

If you or your family would like more support during this difficult time, please reach out to OPAN (Older Persons Advisory Network) on 1800 237 981.  They are available 6am-10pm, 7 days a week.  The other organisation that can assist you is Elder Rights Advocacy Victoria who can be reached on 1800 171 866 for support and advice.

Please contact the Home if you have any questions or concerns.  In addition, you are welcome to contact us via the email address covid19questions@dgas.org.au.

Yours sincerely,

Vanda Iaconese

CEO