Doutta Galla COVID-19

14 September 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Friends,

It is pleasing to finally share some good news.  Late Saturday, 12 September 2020, we received formal notification from the Public Health Unit (PHU) that Yarraville Village can move to ‘Enhanced Surveillance’.  You may recall in my update last Friday, that we had received advice that the first part of this process was completed, and each individual resident had received a COVID-19 ‘clearance certificate’ from the PHU.

Since this advice, it has been lovely to hear that residents were able to once again move freely around the Home, have meals in the dining room and socialise with each other.  Social distancing and strict hand hygiene protocols are being monitored and encouraged.

The start to the period was coincidently ‘R U Ok Day’ and residents are already enjoying the opportunity to meet and have activities together.  I understand that you will have seen by now a ‘photo-graph’ put together by Shivali of some of the activities over the past period, including the time in lockdown.

‘Enhanced surveillance’ is the next step in the journey to recovery.  It means that:

  • Residents are no longer required to isolate in their rooms and may use the common areas in the Home
  • Residents may attend off-site appointments where necessary
  • New residents may be admitted. There are no additional requirements on admission other than routine symptom screening
  • Resident transfers may occur and there are no additional requirements relating to this
  • Doctors and allied health professionals may attend the Home as required.
  • Internal staff have returned to work where they have undertaken all testing as recommended by the DHHS and the results of these tests are negative
  • Visiting health practitioners (such as general practitioners and allied health) may attend the Home as required
  • Staff will continue to wear a mask, face shield and gloves whilst working with residents
  • Cleaning will return to the normal infection control processes
  • Visitor restrictions will need to continue, with only essential family visits over the next 14 days

Following a14-day period, with no further cases of COVID-19 or with no residents showing symptoms of COVID-19, the outbreak at the Home will be considered over and the Home COVID-19 free.

This is a huge relief; however, it has not been without pain, sadness and grief.  The loss of precious Yarraville residents from this virus has been extremely difficult.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and friends and with our residents who have lost their friends.

In recognition of the impact of this time on our residents and families extra support will be provided by Maria Ford, a Pastoral Carer who we have engaged.  Maria will be available at the Home on Saturday 18 September 2020.  If you would prefer the support of your own religious or spiritual support person, please let Talya or Maria know so that they can arrange an appointment.

The residents who remain in hospital will be able to return to the Home following the development of repatriation plans including clearances for each of them to return. This will happen over the coming days.

We will continue to monitor and provide the support that our residents need right now.  Initially our focus remains on building each resident’s strength and wellbeing through good nutrition, physical movement, socialisation and activities.  Family visits will be supported via the ‘family hub’ arrangements, and appointments can be made by calling Rebecca at reception.

Please call the Home on 9687 8233 if you have an enquiry or concern, and we will contact you immediately if there is any change in a resident’s health status.  The email address for written questions or concerns is covid19questions@dgas.org.au.

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.

Thankyou once again.

Yours sincerely,

Vanda Iaconese

CEO