Font

Updated 19 November 2020

Key changes in response to the current COVID-19 cluster in SA:

  • Residential aged care – In accordance with the Emergency Management (Stay at Home) (COVID-19) Direction 2020, all residential aged care facilities are in lockdown for six (6) days from 12:01am on 19 November 2020 until 12:01am on 25 November 2020. All visitation is suspended with the exception of end of life visits. 
  • Centre-based program – The programs at Bene Padre Pio and Bene Italian Village are suspended until further notice. 

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 all those in our care against COVID-19.

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. There is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19.

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 stop the spread of COVID-19.

How are our services affected?

  • Bene Residential Care will continue to provide appropriately safe and expert care to our residents, but visitation will be restricted to end of life visits only (details below). During this time, residents will be offered opportunities for appropriate ongoing social engagement through the provision of additional Lifestyle Workers. Residents will also be supported to understand the importance of increased handwashing and social distancing required to safeguard our community.
  • Bene Casa Home Care will continue to provide appropriately safe and expert care to our consumers at home. Face masks will be worn by our staff should this be the preference of the consumer.
  • Bene Vita Lifestyle & Wellness centre-based program at Bene Padre Pio is suspended until further notice. Resumption of the program will be reviewed as further information becomes available from the South Australian government. The centre-based program at Bene Italian Village remains suspended until further notice due to its co-location with the residential care home. Please contact Bene if you would like to arrange alternative lifestyle and wellness support at home during this time.

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:
    • During the preceding 14 days, the person arrived in South Australia from a place outside South Australia that was not –
      • within the low community transmission zone (ACT, NSW, New Zealand, NT, OLD, TAS, WA)
      • a person ordinarily resident in South Australia at, or near, a South Australian border
      • a person ordinarily resident in Victoria within 70km of a South Australian border
    • During the preceding 14 days, the person had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test
    • 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 2020 seasonal influenza. Proof of vaccination will be required,
    • The person has undertaken a COVID-19 test and is awaiting the test result
  • Adherence to appropriate 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
  • Implementation of restrictions to all residential care home visitation, as detailed below

What are the current residential care guidelines?

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

On 18 November, a raft of measures were announced to try and stop the current outbreak of COVID-19 in the South Australian community, including a six (6) day lockdown of all residential aged care facilities (RACF) from 12.01am on 19 November 2020 until 12.01am on 25 November 2020.

The State Coordinator has issued a Direction under the Emergency Management Act 2004 to give legal effect to these measures. Under the Emergency Management (Stay at Home) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 (Stay at Home Direction):

  • No one is permitted to enter a RACF unless they are an essential worker or for end of life visits.
    • Aged care workers are included within the definition of essential workers.
  • Residents are not permitted to leave a RACF during this period, unless it is for medical reasons or essential health, dental or mental health services provided by a hospital, GP, public health dentist or hospital radiology service.
    • Residents are permitted to return to the RACF upon discharge from hospital and are not required to undergo a routine COVID-19 test prior to this occurring.
    • Instead, all residents re-entering a RACF should undertake a screening checklist for COVID-19 upon their return. If they indicate ‘yes’ to any identified risk factors, appropriate strategies should be put in place to mitigate any risks to other residents.
    • Any resident who has been transferred to an ED from a RACF for assessment of acute respiratory symptoms OR fever for which no other cause is found will be tested and cleared of COVID-19 prior to being discharged back to the RACF, if they had not been swabbed in the RACF prior to presentation.

Other important things to note:

  • The Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 13) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 (Aged Care Direction) is still in operation. Where a provision in the Aged Care Direction is inconsistent with the Stay at Home Direction, the provision in the Stay at Home Direction applies.
  • No person (employee, contractor or visitor) who has attended any of the locations identified in relation to the Parafield cluster should be permitted to enter or remain on the premises of a RACF at this time, unless they have a negative COVID-19 test result. RACF should have appropriate screening processes in place. For a list of affected locations, visit: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDcontacttracing.

Bene is fully aware of how important it is that we assist residents to maintain social connections during this time.  To facilitate this we will continue to use CareApp, and we have redeployed some Community Support Workers to assist with resident support at residential sites.  We encourage you to keep in contact with our residents by phone. If you would like to send an email to our admin staff, we would be happy to print it out and deliver it to the resident:

The Italian Village: clinicaladminsta@bene.org.au
Bene St Clair: AdminStClair@bene.org.au
Campbelltown: AdminCampbelltown@bene.org.au

All staff are currently undertaking refresher infection control on-line training.

 

Reminder:

In a previous update letter provided to residents and representatives on 4 September 2020 we kindly requested residents and/or representatives to complete two consent forms:

  • Permission to share contact details with Government authorities
  • Pre-consent for alternative accommodation arrangements during a COVID-19 outbreak

If you have not yet returned the consent forms, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Once restrictions are lifted, Bene will be reassessing the visitation policy in line with the changing situation.  SA Health are amending their advice daily and Bene will continue to move in line with their advice and that of our Aged Care Industry Bodies.

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.
  • 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 by Visitor Pass holders.

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 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 COVID-19 Health Alert
For the latest public advice, visit https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

COVID-19 Video Resource 
SBS video resource – English
SBS video resource – Italian

Australian Government COVID-19 Information in Your Language
For COVID-19 information for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in 63 languages other than English, covering topics such as health, border updates, education and business and financial support, visit https://covid19inlanguage.homeaffairs.gov.au

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