Many industries have had to make massive changes to the way they operate in recent months. The aged care industry is at the frontline of Australia’s COVID-19 response, supporting some of the most vulnerable community members. Aged care providers and facilities have been working hard to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents, staff and extended communities in response to the realities of coronavirus.
Whilst the Australian Government issued precautionary regulations for residential aged care communities throughout Australia in mid-March, many aged care providers had been working around the clock since much earlier to closely monitor the advice of government and health authorities and assess how best they could prepare for COVID-19 while still supporting quality of life for residents.
Bolton Clarke, one of the aged care providers we work closely with, shared the steps that they have taken both at an organisation and a local site level to prepare and safeguard against coronavirus. To name a few, these steps include:
- Early implementation of enhanced resident protection protocols including screening, temperature checks and hand hygiene protocols for all visitors and employees
- Updated hand hygiene and PPE training for employees
- Implementation of new technology for alternative social support, including iPads across all communities
- Ensuring availability of quarantine beds in case of positive cases in a community
- Purchase of equipment supporting the creation of isolation areas if needed
- Sourcing and purchase of additional stocks of full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Early implementation of flu clinics across the organisation to ensure employees are immunised before the Government’s 1 May deadline
- Workforce support and planning including arrangements for safe transport to work in key areas and surge workforce preparation with new temporary support roles
- Daily review of preparation and situation reporting
Infection control is not new to aged care providers. They have many years of experience in taking care of our loved ones. That being said, these additional steps, which come at a tremendous financial and logistical cost, are evidence of the commitment aged care facilities are making to their residents and communities at this time. Providers such as Bolton Clarke should be commended on their pro-active approach to keep COVID-19 from impacting their residents, staff and broader community.