Doutta Galla COVID-19

14 July 2021

Dear Residents, Families and Friends,

It is unfortunate that the recent serious community outbreak in Sydney has found its way to Melbourne and specifically to the western suburbs of Melbourne.   The Victorian Government has updated the Tier 1, 2 and 3 exposure sites following a confirmed case of COVID having visited these sites since 8 July 2021. It is important that everyone is aware of these exposure sites and follows the rules accordingly.  As always, our focus, is and will continue to be, taking care of you and your loved one, our staff on the frontline and our Doutta Galla community.

There are a number of strategies in place to minimise the risk of the spread of the virus.  A key strategy is vaccination and infection control.

Vaccination Program

The vaccination program is one of the key steps towards emerging from the pandemic environment. Doutta Galla encourages residents and families who are yet to be vaccinated to consider being vaccinated.

Doutta Galla has worked actively with Government agencies to provide COVID vaccination programs at each of our homes for our residents and staff.  Most residents living at our homes have already been vaccinated, and new residents are being offered the opportunity to be vaccinated as soon as this is possible.

Although for some residents the vaccine is not indicated, we understand that some residents and families may be reluctant due to confusing information about the risks associated with the COVID-19 vaccine.  I urge you to reconsider and speak with your GP about your or your family member’s specific circumstances.  If you do decide to proceed, please let the Home Manager know as soon as possible, and we will endeavour to facilitate additional vaccine clinics.

We are also encouraging family members to consider vaccination. If you haven’t already and are unsure, please speak to a trusted health professional about the benefits and risks.

Doutta Galla staff have been encouraged to receive the vaccination as a way of providing protection to themselves their families and our residents.  It will be mandatory for all aged care staff to have had at least their first vaccination by 1 September 2021.

Infection Control

Doutta Galla continues to regularly review the current environment to manage the risks associated with COVID 19. This involves our infection control systems and processes inclusive of continued specialist infection prevention control training. In addition, as part of regulatory compliance in aged care, the State and Federal Government agencies regularly conduct unannounced audits to monitor our homes’ infection prevention control preparedness and processes.

General visits

At this stage there has been no changes to visitor restrictions.

Visitors are allowed to visit aged care in line with the following requirements:

  • A maximum of two visitors for each resident at one time (these can be from different households).
  • There is no time limit on visits.
  • A group may exceed the ‘two visitors at a time’ rule if dependents of a visitor are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.
  • There is a maximum of five visitors per resident per day, including dependents. This daily maximum does not apply to end-of-life visits.
  • Face masks are a requirement while indoors. Face masks for visitors are recommended outdoors where physical distancing of 1.5m from others cannot be maintained.
  • Visitors and staff must undertake screening protocols including completion of attestations.
  • The QR code must be scanned when visiting our homes.
  • Restricting visitors and staff found to have visited exposure sites until they have returned a negative test result.
  • End of life care visits will be facilitated by the home to ensure compassion, safety and dignity for all concerned.

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.

As you are aware, communications from Doutta Galla are sent to the resident and to the nominated resident representative.  If there are additional people in your family 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 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.

If you or your family would like more support during this 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.

Yours sincerely,

Vanda Iaconese

CEO