Our Leadership team, clinical and non-clinical staff are working hard to be informed and prepared to respond quickly in the event of an outbreak. At the time of writing, our facility remains a COVID-free home for our residents and staff. We have an Outbreak Management Plan (OMP) reviewed daily to ensure information and updates provided by Government Agencies is aligned. All staff and senior staff are aware of their roles.

We have a clear plan of action for the first 24 hours should there be a confirmed case at Belvedere. This plan holds us accountable for what steps we must take to protect all our residents and minimise the spread of the virus in our facility.

Nominated Next-of-Kin/Powers of Attorney (NOK/POA), families and loved ones of our residents have received email communication about our preparedness plans. We have highlighted and expanded on key information below:

  • All treating Local Medical Officers (LMOs) will be involved in the Management of an outbreak.
  • Public Health Units and the Department will be contacted within the first 30 minutes.
  • Residents will be required to be isolated to their rooms. We have organised partitions throughout the building to ensure that movement from one wing to another is minimised.
  • Hospital transfers for suspected and confirmed cases will be discussed with the resident, LMOs and next-of-kin.

 

Next of Kin (NOK/POA) and Family Communication

In the event of a SUSPECTED case:

  • Our Senior Clinical team will inform all residents and resident’s nominated NOK/POA via telephone of this suspected case.
  • The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) will also be notified (emailed) of a suspected case.
  • Staff who have worked closely with a suspected staff member/resident will be requested to get tested, self-isolate while they await their results.
  • All residents will isolate in their rooms. All resident meals will be served in their rooms and lifestyle activities will temporarily be suspended until it is deemed safe to resume by the Leadership Team.
  • Non-contact visits will be suspended until it is deemed safe to resume by the Leadership Team. We encourage email, video-calls to communicate with your loved ones.
  • The facility will undergo an immediate enhance clean.

In preparation, staff rosters are now coordinated so staff work in one wing only to limit cross-contamination within our facility.

Partitions have been implemented as part of zoning of our facility in the event of a confirmed outbreak and to limit residents who may wander.

In the event of a CONFIRMED case: 

  • In the event of an outbreak at Belvedere, nominated NOK/POA of residents with a confirmed case will be contacted via phone by our DON or Deputy DON. If the Deputy DON or DON is not available, an RN Div 1 in Charge will be directed to make such calls.
  • If your loved one is not positive, one of our senior staff members will contact every resident’s NOK/POA by phone to inform them of the current situation. Once all phone calls have been made, an SMS and email to our family database will be sent. We encourage NOK/POAs to pass on this primary information within their family networks and reiterate that an email with further information will be sent to families on our weekly communications list following all priority phone calls made. 
  • We do expect a large level of calls in the event of an outbreak. All NOK/POA will be phoned and provided with important clinical updates as a priority every day. We kindly ask that you wait for our phone call and – if not a NOK/POA, await our email communications to ensure that we can continue to deliver care to residents and make all urgent phone calls as quickly as possible.

If you are aware of a family member that should be on our email distribution list but isn’t, you can share emails or contact us requesting to be added to our list.

Important Information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  

  • We have in store PPE including masks, shields, gowns, gloves and disposable crockery/cutlery required. We took action from the first lockdown to ensure we had supplies. Although the Department states that it will supply if there is an outbreak, it cannot be guaranteed it will be delivered in a timely manner. We continuously undertake a stock audit to prepare ourselves.
  • We have had 100% of staff undertake training by the ADF and Monash Health in the use of PPE. Refresher is being constantly conducted and is part of the orientation process of new staff.
  • We have allocated a full-time PM and AM staff to be PPE Trainers and all staff are having to conduct an extensive competence assessment.
  • All staff continue to wear facemasks and face-coverings from arrival to departure of their shift.
  • We have contacted all suppliers including linen, food supplies to ensure constant supplies.

Staff Training

  • We have had 100% of staff undertake Mandatory Infection Control and COVID-19 Training.
  • We are doing further and ongoing training on our COVID-19 Response and OMP.
  • We have a rigorous audit system which is constantly auditing Infection Control Practices.

Staff Practices

We understand that the majority of aged care outbreaks have been due to staff transmission. Belvedere has always had in place a policy that staff work 4-5 shifts a week. We have, however, worked towards greater consolidation of roster management before the second wave to minimise the risk of facility cross-contamination:

  • All staff were asked to attend an interview with the DON to discuss their current roster requirements and alternate workplaces.
  • Staff were asked to complete a statutory declaration, declaring all alternate workplaces, days and times worked.
  • Since the 1st of May, all staff, contractors and visitors have provided evidence of their flu vaccination.
  • Staff were asked to work solely at Belvedere providing them with additional hours. The restructured roster ensures staff do not work elsewhere and are not financially disadvantaged.
  • All staff including contractors such as Physiotherapist, Environmental Service Contractors were asked to complete this Statutory Declaration and follow this practice.
  • All staff are provided information about the current government financial support relating to pandemic leave, COVID-19 testing leave and other wellbeing services.

We have further made the following requirements to our Contractors:

  • Staff, contractors and anyone entering the facility continue to be screened upon entry. The front door remains locked to ensure this.
  • Only essential work is being carried out at the moment. Non-essential works have been postponed until it is safer.
  • If any essential works had to be conducted which involves resident rooms, contractors have been asked to undertake a COVID19 swab prior to entering our facility.
  • Our Environment Services Contractors (cleaning contractors) are not waiting for an outbreak, and have been conducting enhanced environment cleaning as part of their daily routine.
  • New equipment including an electric fog sprayer has been purchased to ensure enhanced disinfecting.
  • The ADMIN team is responsible for keeping informed of all information regarding outbreaks. As we become aware of an outbreak in our LGA and neighbouring LGA, our staff are alerted via an SMS immediately to ensure they are aware of risks in their communities.

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)

Older Persons Advocacy Network’s free services support older people and their representatives to address issues related to Commonwealth-funded aged care services. To find out more about their services and how they can assist you visit their website.

For all other information about COVID-19, access translated material and our state protocols, visit the Departement of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

 

We have received wonderful messages of support from residents and their loved ones – thank you!

On behalf of the team at Belvedere, we give you our fullest guarantee that our commitment to the wellbeing and safety of our residents means that will do everything in power to keep them safe.

 

For further information about our Outbreak Management Plan contact us here