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Updated 17 January 2022

Bene Aged Care is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and adhering to the advice of the Australian Commonwealth and State Departments of Health in taking appropriate precautionary measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community.

We understand that these are trying times and thank you for your cooperation in helping us to protect the health and wellbeing of all those in our care.

Key points in this update:

  • Under the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 45) (COVID-19) Direction 2022 which comes into effect on January 29, only persons that have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as per the following definition will be allowed to enter a RACF. A person is vaccinated against COVID-19 if the person has received at least two (2) doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the TGA or all dosages of a recognised COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with the dosage schedule recommended by ATAGI for that vaccine, and within 4 weeks of becoming eligible in accordance with ATAGI guidelines, receives a third dose (booster) of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine) (does not apply to a child aged 12 years and 2 months or less).
  • Bene Campbelltown is out of lockdown and welcoming visitors. 
  • Bene Italian Village remains open to visitors while Bene St Clair remains in lockdown with the exception of end-of-life care visits.  
  • Bene’s COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plan is implemented across all three of our residential aged care homes, and we continue to work closely with the State and Commonwealth Departments of Health.
  • Bene’s Lifestyle & Wellness centre-based programs at Bene Padre Pio and Bene Italian Village remain suspended until further notice.

Why is this infection so dangerous for older people?

The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases with age. The highest rate of fatalities is among older people, particularly those with other serious health conditions or a weakened immune system.

For people living with dementia or some form of cognitive impairment, the ability to follow instructions to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 or to alert others about potential symptoms may be a challenge. This is especially so where there is a limited capacity to communicate verbally or express pain and discomfort.

To protect older Australians and those with compromised immune systems, we all need to work together to help minimise the spread of COVID-19.

How are our services affected?

  • Residential Aged Care – Bene St Clair is currently in lockdown and closed to visitors, with the exception of end-of-life care visits.
  • Lifestyle & Wellness – Bene Padre Pio and Bene Italian Village centre-based social program and dementia-specific respite program remain suspended until further notice. Please contact Bene if you would like to arrange alternative lifestyle and wellness support at home during this time.
  • Home Care – We continue to provide safe, professional services at your home.

What are we doing to ensure the safety of our community?

As a long-established specialist aged care provider, we have extensive infection control measures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of our vulnerable older Australians as well as those who care for them. To further minimise risk to our community, Bene has implemented the following measures.

  • Entry into any Bene facility will be prohibited by any person to which any of the following conditions apply:
    • The person is prohibited from entering a Residential Aged Care Facility by reason of an Arrivals direction (for more information, refer to https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/travel/entrycheck-sa).
    • During the preceding 14 days, the person had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
    • The person has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or has undertaken a COVID-19 test and is awaiting the test result (unless the person submitted to the COVID-19 test in accordance with routine surveillance testing of asymptomatic persons).
    • The person has a temperature higher than 37.5℃, or has a history of fever or chills in the preceding 72 hours, or symptoms of acute respiratory infection such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, or loss of taste and smell.
    • The person has not been vaccinated against the 2021 seasonal influenza (does not apply to a child aged 6 months or less). Proof of vaccination is required,
    • The person has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 (a person is vaccinated against COVID-19 if the person has received at least two (2) doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the TGA or all dosages of a recognised COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with the dosage schedule recommended by ATAGI for that vaccine, and within 4 weeks of becoming eligible in accordance with ATAGI guidelines, receives a third dose (booster) of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine) (does not apply to a child aged 12 years and 2 months or less). Proof of vaccination is required. EFFECTIVE 29 JANUARY 2022
  • Symptom monitoring and surveillance testing by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) of staff and residents when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at a Bene residential aged care home.
  • Adherence to appropriate PPE, infection control, hygiene and social distancing measures as outlined by the Australian Commonwealth and State Departments of Health
  • Additional staff training and assessment of infection control procedures specific to COVID-19
  • Implementation of additional cleaning and disinfection measures
  • Restricted visitor access to our residential care homes as detailed below.

What are the current visitor guidelines?

Of paramount importance are the health and safety of our residents and those who care for them. As such, Bene is continually adapting its COVID-19 visitor guidelines as the situation evolves.

Bene St Clair is currently in lockdown and closed to visitors, with the exception of end-of-life care visits.

At Bene Italian Village and Bene Campbeltown, restricted visitation is in place for:

  • Residents to receive one (1) visit per day by up to two (2) visitors, for a total visitation time of 60 minutes. Visits will be booked at 15 minute intervals between 9am and 11am, 1pm and 4pm, and 6pm and 6:30pm.
  • Residents receiving palliative End-of-Life Care
  • Residents who have a clearly established pattern of receiving Shared Care

In accordance with the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 43) (COVID-19) Direction 2021 enacted by the State Coordinator, visitors will be restricted from entering any Bene facility if:

  • The person is prohibited from entering a Residential Aged Care Facility by reason of an Arrivals direction (for more information, refer to https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/travel/entrycheck-sa).
  • During the preceding 14 days, the person had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • The person has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or has undertaken a COVID-19 test and is awaiting the test result (unless the person submitted to the COVID-19 test in accordance with routine surveillance testing of asymptomatic persons).
  • The person has a temperature higher than 37.5℃, or has a history of fever or chills in the preceding 72 hours, or symptoms of acute respiratory infection such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, or loss of taste and smell.
  • The person has not been vaccinated against the 2021 seasonal influenza (does not apply to a child aged 6 months or less). Proof of vaccination will be required,
  • The person has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 (a person is vaccinated against COVID-19 if the person has received at least two (2) doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the TGA or all dosages of a recognised COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with the dosage schedule recommended by ATAGI for that vaccine, and within 4 weeks of becoming eligible in accordance with ATAGI guidelines, receives a third dose (booster) of a TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccine) (does not apply to a child aged 12 years and 2 months or less). Proof of vaccination is required. EFFECTIVE 29 JANUARY 2022

What to do prior to visiting

  1. Register for a Visitor Pass
    .
    If you have not already done so, anyone intending to visit a resident will be required to register for a Visitor Pass in advance of the intended visit.
    X
    To register, you must email or contact the receptionist at the care home that you intend to visit.

    Italian Village AdminStAgnes@bene.org.au
    St Clair AdminStClair@bene.org.au
    Campbelltown AdminCampbelltown@bene.org.auX

    Please note that these email addresses are only attended by reception during business hours on Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm and on Friday 9am to 3pm.

    When registering, you must provide the following information:
    – Full name of the resident you wish to visit
    – Your full name
    – Your phone number
    – Your email address
    – Evidence of having received the 2021 seasonal influenza vaccination
    – Evidence of having received at least two (2) doses of a COVID-19 vaccine

    A Visitor Pass will be issued to you on successful registration.

  2. Schedule a visit
    .
    Send an email to the receptionist at the care home you wish to visit with the following information:
    – Full name of the resident you wish to visit
    – Your full name
    – Your phone number
    – Your email address
    – Preferred visiting date(s) and time(s). Limit of one (1) visit by up to two (2) visitors per resident per day.
    .
    Bene will send you an email confirming the date(s) and time(s) of your visit(s).

    *Please note, bookings for weekend visits must be made by the preceding Friday, 3pm

If you have a temperature of higher than 37.5℃ or are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory infection such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, we ask that you do not visit.

During your visit

  • Visitors must carry their Visitor Pass at all times while visiting.
  • Visitors must consent to temperature screening and answer the COVID-19 screening questions at the electronic kiosk upon arrival.
  • Visitors must check in with the COVIDSafeCheckIn app, or when unable to do so, record their details in a manual register provided for that purpose.
  • Visitors must use the hand sanitizer on entering the care home.
  • Visitors must wear a mask while visiting the care home when and as directed by SA Health. Additional PPE requirements may apply.
  • Visits can only occur in a resident’s room or outdoors with appropriate social distancing measures.
  • Visitors must not enter any communal areas.

Bene would like to sincerely thank you for your patience, assistance and support during this time to help us keep our community safe.

What are we doing to minimise the impact of social isolation?

We understand that the requirement for social isolation at this time is particularly challenging for older people. To support those in our care within our residential care homes and out in the community, Bene is implementing some extra services including:

  • A prehabilitation program and additional reablement exercise programs to boost physical and mental wellbeing and minimise the risk of deconditioning. Accessible from the comfort of your own home or within our residential care homes, the friendly therapists of Flex Care are at hand to help you stay physically active during this time.
  • In our residential care homes, we have partnered with CareApp to bring our residents, carers and families together over an easy-to-use mobile platform that enhances social connectivity and communication and offers greater peace of mind for our families. We are also facilitating video calls for residents and their families.
  • An increased focus on offering safe and engaging social distancing-friendly activities to meet the individual needs and preferences of our residents with the provision of additional Lifestyle Workers.
  • Window of Love visits at each of our care homes in addition to face-to-face visits that adhere to current COVID-19 restrictions.

We also encourage friends and family to keep in touch by making phone or video calls, sending postcards, photos or artwork or filming short videos to share. There are many creative ways to let your loved ones know that you care.

What can you do to help keep our community safe?

We can all help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.

To protect yourself and others, you must:

For more information

National Coronavirus Helpline
If you’re concerned, you can call the National Coronavirus Helpline for information and advice about COVID-19. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

1800 020 080

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

Latest Public Advice
For the latest public advice, visit https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

General Coronavirus Advice 
SBS video resource – English
SBS video resource – Italian

To keep up to date with the most recent Bene news and COVID-19 related announcements, please take a look at our news pages.