Doutta Galla COVID-19

Dear Residents, Family Members and Friends,

The past few weeks have continued to challenge each and every one of us especially those living and working in aged care and those who have not been able to see their family members.  Seven of our eight homes are in locations which have seen the greatest spread of the virus.  I watch each day in anticipation to hear about the decrease in the rate of community spread and hope that the decline in numbers of positive cases will continue.  I urge you to stay the course and continue to follow the restrictions to enable us all to reduce community transmission of the virus.

Managing in a COVID-19 environment continues to be a significant challenge and we are using every resource we have available to us. We continue to advocate for the additional support and resources we need.

Over the past week, our Footscray and Yarraville Village Homes have stabilised with many staff returning.  We have also seen the gradual return of some residents from hospital and very sadly we have had some of our residents pass away.  This loss has included residents both with, and without the virus, across all of our homes.  Losing a loved one is never easy and loss in this period is further heightened by the constraints placed on all of us by COVID-19, whether our loved had tested positive or not.  Our residents who have passed away and their families are in our thoughts and prayers and we miss them all.

It has been pleasing this week to have seen the completion of the ‘surveillance period’ for residents at our Woornack and Lynch’s Bridge Homes.  Many of our families and friends have taken the trouble to write to us expressing their support for Doutta Galla and to offer words of encouragement and thanks in these trying times.  Heart-warmingly our residents and the teams working at all of our Homes continue to receive support from families and local communities, which we most gratefully accept.

As you know our first priority is for the safety and protection of all residents living in our homes.  Keeping them safe from this virus is paramount, however given the length of time of the restrictions and the lack of clarity about what will happen at the end of stage 4, each of our Homes are working towards facilitating improved contact between residents and families.

The Manager of the Home where you, or your family member lives will contact you about making arrangements regarding ‘family hub visits’.  In the meantime, the Homes will continue to assist you to keep in regular contact with your family member via telephone, video conferencing and window visits.

Our staff at each of the Homes continue to create moments of fun and joy.  At our Avondale Heights Home staff and residents have recently made a video, which can be found at Avondale Heights Video.  In addition, residents at all of our homes have enjoyed watching a video produced by the students and teachers from St. Therese’s Primary School in Essendon sending their best wishes to our Doutta Galla residents.

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.

We will let you know as soon as possible if there is a change in your or your family member’s health status.  If you have an enquiry or concern about your family member, please call the Home where your loved one lives. The email address for written questions or concerns is covid19questions@dgas.org.au.

Thankyou once again for your support during this challenging time.

Yours sincerely,

Vanda Iaconese
CEO