Doutta Galla COVID-19

Dear Residents, Families and Friends,

It is pleasing to report that Footscray continues its path to familiarity as we begin to welcome back some of our residents who were initially moved to hospital.  The residents themselves, their families and the hospital have now determined that being back at Footscray is the best place for their care.  We have also had many of our regular staff return which is pleasing for them and has certainly put a smile on the faces of our residents.

It is with deep sadness that I advise you that since the outbreak began, almost five weeks ago, five residents with the virus have passed away and five residents not infected with the virus have also passed away.  This is a sad time for all of us and from the whole Doutta Galla community to our precious Footscray community, we extend our sincere and deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of our residents who have passed away.

Over the last few weeks, our residents and the team working at Footscray have received heart-warming support from the local community and we are most grateful for this.  We have had local school children sending their support through videos, others have dropped off gifts, flowers and cards which have lifted the spirits of the residents and the staff.  Many of our families and friends have sent letters of gratitude to Doutta Galla in support of our services.

Fortunately, we have been able to have a steady hand on site through the management provided by Talya Goldsmith and Karen McDonald and in the early stages of the outbreak Carlo Rizzi and our General Manager, Robyn Simpson.  As you know, additional staff have been added to all shifts.  Initially this was challenging to arrange when our own Doutta Galla staff were furlonged from the Home to isolate due to testing positive to the virus or being a close contact.  Supplementing staff with workers from our other homes and agency staff has been difficult, however we have been able to book some staff in for longer blocks of time to ensure a greater opportunity for residents and temporary staff to get to know each other until all the regular Footscray staff are back.

We continue to focus on supporting and strengthening the wellbeing of all our residents through boosting and providing wholesome meals and all residents are being encouraged to take in more fluids and to build their strength to give them the best chance to beat this virus.

The next round of COVID-19 testing is on Friday 21 August 2020 and will be for staff and residents who have not previously tested positive.  We are awaiting clarification from the various authorities as to when it is appropriate to re-test residents to determine their recovery from COVID-19.  The current position seems to be that once the critical period has passed ie 14 days, from the last positive test, people are considered to have “recovered” and be COVID free.  We are seeking a more definitive response for our residents and families and have requested that residents be re-tested at the appropriate time to ascertain their recovery.

As previously reported, we have commenced our planning to return the home to being COVID-19 free.  This involves the achievement of some key milestones.  We have asked for further clarification from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Unit (PHU) about this process.

We will let you know as soon as possible if there is a change in your or your family member’s health status.  Please call us on 9687 6744 if you have an enquiry or concern about your family member.  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 for your support during this challenging time.

Yours sincerely

Vanda Iaconese
CEO