Media Statement

Thursday 30th April 2020

Belvedere Aged Care visitor restrictions protecting the vulnerable elderly and local jobs

 

Belvedere Aged Care is pleased and encouraged to hear Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s acknowledgment of the aged care workforce in his April 29 address, recognising their efforts and invaluable contribution to keep vulnerable members of the community safe. We are however, disappointed at the comments the PM made in his April 24 national press conference regarding relaxing the current visitor restrictions into aged care homes. As we await the outcomes of an industry code of conduct, we stand with our industry peers in expressing our concerns for the devastating consequences that relaxing our visitation protocols will have on our residents and staff.

Whilst we extend our gratitude to the community for adhering to strict social distancing measures, we believe that greater harm could occur at aged care homes if the current visitation measures are lifted. Especially, as reports of recent deaths relate to the COVID-19 outbreak at the NSW Aged Care facility, Anglicare Newsmarch House. We stand with aged care peak agency body Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA), its counterparts and our industry peers in endorsing their call to the Prime Minister and his Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbek to reconsider:

– A revised statement from the government regarding enhanced resident protections that confirms that in some cases additional restrictions beyond AHPPC guidance are necessary for public health and resident safety.

– A process for the rapid escalation and resolution of case-by-case issues reported by families, residents or advocates, plus a process of guidance sharing for providers on leading practice.

Further information can be found in LASA’s media statement: https://lasa.asn.au/news/enhanced-visitation-protections-are-for-public-health-and-safety/

Belvedere Aged Care made the decision to implement a period of restricted access to its facility as of March 13 – well prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement suggesting restricted visitation for aged care homes, in his March 15 press conference. Belvedere’s prompt, decisive actions, has led to zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 at our 60-bed facility. We remain vigilant with infection management protocols in place including necessary PPE equipment on-hand. Though challenging for families, we have received messages of support for keeping their vulnerable loved ones safe. We also have the support of our residents and have communicated to families that in circumstances such as palliative care, we have in place precautionary measures to allow families entry into the facility. Our open, transparent communications is vital in providing updates for families on the health and wellbeing of their loved ones and, of our protocols.

Families place great responsibility and trust in us to care for their elderly loved ones. It is imperative that this care, at present, extends to our restricted visitations. The safety and comfort of our residents remains above all other decisions.’ Rachel Noel, Belvedere’s Director affirms.

‘I understand the inconvenience this may present to families, and greatly sympathise with them at this time. Additional staffing resource is in place to assist our residents to communicate with their families using alternate methods of contact such as video chats and non-contact visits held onsite. The feedback from families has reassured me that we have taken the right course of action.’

Belvedere Aged Care’s Director of Nursing Carmel Drobnik further explains, ‘Our residents are not stuck in their rooms as the PM suggests. We know aged care is tainted by operators who do the wrong thing but many, like Belvedere work hard to provide the care and dignity our elderly Australians rightly deserve.’

‘With restrictions in place, our residents can move freely around their home and continue to do the things they love. Visitations have temporarily been altered but the feedback I have received from many families is that our non-contact visits allow them the opportunity to see their loved ones, feel reassured and maintain a sense of connection.’

Belvedere Aged Care is a family-owned and operated residential aged care facility with a predominant cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) workforce. Our essential workforce have demonstrated great commitment to the safety and care of our residents. Staff must attend regular training and education relating to infection control and adhere to social distancing measures outside of work, which, we believe has contributed to our resident’s safety.

Belvedere Aged Care employs over 75 clinical and non-clinical staff, contractors and allied health professionals. Each plays a significant role in providing the essential services needed to ensure life is as normal as can be for residents. Rachel Noel goes on to say, ‘We have a duty to protect our staff and their livelihoods. An outbreak of COVID-19 would have a disastrous effect including the potential loss of jobs. We did not come to this decision lightly, what’s at risk for our Belvedere community must also be considered.’

Celebrated for its community-orientated approach, at the core of Belvedere Aged is a strong sense of family, of connectedness and spiritual wellbeing. Rachel Noel passionately outlines: ‘We listen to what our residents and families tell us and that is to keep their parents and grandparents safe. We invite Prime Minister Scott Morrison and State Premier Daniel Andrews to get in touch and speak to me directly to understand first-hand how we as a family-business contribute to our local economy and ensure the safety of our staff and residents – the most vulnerable members of our community.’

Belvedere Aged Care is a 60-bed residential aged care facility located in Noble Park, a South-Eastern suburb of Melbourne. It employs over 75 staff, contractors and Allied Health Professionals. Belvedere Aged Care is a proud 2nd generation, family-owned and operated residential care facility.

 

For further information about this media statement please contact Daniele Noel d.noel@belvedere.com.au or 0402279908.