An update from the Doutta Galla CEO
I hope you all had an opportunity to have a restful break over the Easter period.
It was not surprising to hear that a Victorian State of Emergency has been extended until 11 May 2020. We are by no means out of the woods yet and we still have a long way to go. The statistics about residential aged care deaths coming from other countries around the world are frightening. Data from EU shows 50% of COVID-19 deaths happen in aged care homes. This is not what we want, and Doutta Galla remains determined to do whatever we can to limit the spread of this virus to our residents and staff.
I recognise it is difficult not to see your family member in person. It is natural to be feeling the distance. During a time of “self-isolation” and “lockdown” it may feel as though your family member is alone, in our homes. Doutta Galla is doing its upmost to ensure that our residents, as part of the Doutta Galla family, and together with our staff, as part of a larger community, that are supporting each other together.
The residents were able to enjoy Easter celebrations, including the traditional Easter egg hunts and bonnet parade as well as televised church services for those who wished to participate. I am pleased to see that the families and friends of Doutta Galla are using every means possible to speak to their loved one. Either via Skype, Zoom, phone, Facetime or via our “chat decks”. We have extra staff on board to be “Connection Ambassadors” and to enable and support connection wherever possible. I know too that each of the homes is sending families updates on what’s happening in the individual homes and specifically about your relative.
Given the serious nature of the Coronavirus crisis, Doutta Galla has set up various groups and mechanisms to monitor and oversee our responses. Included in the response has been the initiation of a Control Group consisting of myself and the executive team as well as key stakeholders from within the organisation. The role of this group is to keep abreast of developments and put in place any actions to ensure compliance and safety of residents, staff and contractors. This Group has been in operation since the beginning of this crisis, meeting almost daily and more often if needed during the crisis. In addition, the Facility Managers from each Doutta Galla Home have been having regular COVID-19 Managers’ meetings with myself and the Operational leadership team to provide input, feedback and to monitor the Doutta Galla response.
The Coronavirus crisis is an evolving situation. No-one has a rule book on how best to deal with it. Information that was current one day may not be current the next. We are taking our lead from the experts such as the Chief Medical Officers, the government and the Health Department, and not from the news or TV reports. At all times the risk of residents having a visitor or being able to leave or return to the facility will be managed by our Managers, in consultation with the Doutta Galla COVID-19 Control Group. Similarly, I want to assure you that there are very clear assessment processes and protocols in place for the admission of new residents.
A further reminder that it is mandatory for all visitors to aged care to be immunised against the flu. After 1 May 2020, you will not be able to enter any aged care home when we resume visits. To meet the Federal Government’s audit for this directive we will be seeking appropriate evidence of immunization status from everyone wishing to visit residents in aged care. Appropriate evidence may be a statement or record from a health practitioner; or an immunization history statement.
Another important milestone to share with you is that Doutta Galla Aged Services reached 29 years of service to our community last Sunday 12 April. This tells me that we are a strong organisation that will continue our mission well into the future.
I appreciate that there is a lot of additional information coming from me at the moment. I want to emphasise that the information I send to you is about ensuring you have up-to-date information directly from me. If anything is unclear, I urge you to speak directly with the Manager at the home where your relative lives.
Once again, I want to thank every family member and friend of Doutta Galla for the respect and understanding they have shown in order to protect our residents and staff. We are grateful for your understanding during these unprecedented times. Our focus will continue to be on the care and support of every person at Doutta Galla Aged Services.
Chief Executive Officer
Doutta Galla Aged Services Ltd