Doutta Galla COVID-19

Dear Residents, Families and Friends

It is pleasing to report that Yarraville Village has stabilised over the past week, 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 Yarraville is the best place for their care.  We have also had many of our familiar 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 COVID-19 outbreak began, almost three weeks ago, a total of nine residents have passed away, some of whom were receiving palliative care for other conditions.  Four people passed away at the Home, and five passed away in hospital.

This is a sad time for all of us and from the whole Doutta Galla community to our precious Yarraville Village community, we extend our sincere and deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of our residents who have passed away.

Over the last week our residents and the team working at Yarraville have received heart-warming support from the local community and we are most grateful for this.  We have had local families walking by stopping to say ‘hello’ to our residents through windows, a local artist who dropped in a painting for the home and gifts, cards and flowers from the community have lifted the spirits of the residents and the staff.  Many of our families and friends have taken the trouble to write to us to express their dissatisfaction at the unfortunate media reports that were not reflective of their positive experiences at Yarraville, either in the past few weeks or in their time with Doutta Galla.

Fortunately, we have had the experience and steady hand on site through the management provided by Robyn Simpson and Carlo Rizzi.  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 Yarraville staff are back.

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

The next round of COVID-19 testing was held today for staff only.  We are awaiting clarification from the various authorities as to when it is appropriate to test residents to determine their recovery from COVID-19.  The current position seems to be that once the critical period has passed ie14 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 8233 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