Dear resident or relative
I hope you are all doing okay at this time when the easing of Covid restrictions in Sydney is just a few weeks away. It has been a difficult time, but we are all feeling more optimistic now and looking forward to welcoming you back to OLOC. Recently when restrictions were eased in some parts of country NSW the health authorities allowed two visitors per resident per day and I think we would all settle for something like that for a start.
Some Changes in our Check-in Process
Early on in the lockdown, Services NSW insisted that we start using their QR code system so they have immediate access to staff and visitor data. This means that we now have a two-stage check-in process, where you check into the facility building using the Services NSW QR code and then you use our own QR code system that verifies your health status. Our staff quickly adapted to this, and I am sure you will too.
While the Services NSW QR code will stay for checking into the building, for our screening process we hope to be able to implement an easy to use, semi-automated check-in system in the next few weeks. We are hoping this will be simpler for you and simpler for us and we will provide more information as soon as we have it in place.
Keeping residents safe: the vaccination status of staff, residents and contractors
All our residential care staff are already fully vaccinated. As of Monday next week, 96 % of our residents will be fully vaccinated and another 1% will have had a first dose.
We now run routine onsite Covid testing even though our staff are all fully vaccinated. We also ask all contractors who come onsite to be fully vaccinated against Covid and to have a recent negative test. It is a rigorous approach, but it goes without saying that it is important to keep residents safe.
Vaccination status of visitors
So, when restrictions are eased, the big question is whether people who are not vaccinated will be allowed to visit a relative who lives in an aged care facility. While we don’t know the answer to this question yet, there are some strong clues to what we can expect.
As I am sure you are aware, the NSW Premier and her Chief Health Officer have been saying that when 70% of people in NSW are vaccinated and restrictions are eased, a person who is not vaccinated will not be able to go to a café, a pub or a restaurant in Greater Sydney. This week the Premier said that this would be the case even when we reached the 80% vaccination level across the community.
On the issue of opening up aged care to visitors, there are a range of views being expressed and ideas floated but at the end of the day we take our advice from the NSW Health Department. Given what the Premier and the Chief Health Officer have been saying about the importance of being vaccinated, no one should be surprised if it turns out that everyone has to be vaccinated before they can visit someone in an aged care facility.
Whatever the policy turns out to be, as soon as we hear we will let you know.
Supporting our residents
In the meantime, we are focused on supporting our residents and on helping them keep in touch with their families. Our leisure and lifestyle staff are continuing to facilitate a lot of video calls.
The last three months has been difficult for everyone, so we really appreciate your patience over that time. We don’t have an opening date yet but we are really looking forward to welcoming you back and we will update you as soon as we know more. If you have any questions, please ring Jenny Fahy on 9832 5418 or Peter Squire on 9832 5406.
Chief Executive Officer
23 September 2021
All aged care facilities across Greater Sydney are now closed to visitors .
Ongoing Review: OLOC will continue to closely monitor and update this policy as updated advice becomes available.