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Updated 12 May 2020

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 expert care to our residents, but restricted visitor access will apply (details below). During this time, residents will be supported to understand the increased handwashing and social distancing requirements that necessitate the restriction of visitors and will be offered opportunities for appropriate ongoing social engagement with the provision of additional Lifestyle Workers.
  • Bene Casa Home Care will continue to provide expert care to our consumers at home.
  • Bene Vita Lifestyle & Wellness centre-based programs are suspended until further notice.

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 has returned from overseas or interstate
    • During the preceding 14 days, the person has been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or someone awaiting the results of COVID-19 testing
    • The person has a temperature of higher than 37.5℃ or symptoms of a respiratory infection such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
    • The person has not been vaccinated against the 2020 seasonal influenza. Proof of vaccination will be required – EFFECTIVE 1 MAY
    • The person is aged under 16 years (special exclusions may apply)
  • 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
  • Restricted visitor access to our residential care homes, as detailed below
  • Prohibition of re-entry by a resident who leaves a residential care facility for any reason not related to a medical or dental treatment, in line with the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 enacted by the State Coordinator

What are the current visitor 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.

Currently, visitation with special provisions is allowed for:

  • A pre-booked visit by a Nominated Authorised Visitor (details below)
  • Residents receiving palliative end-of-life care
  • Residents who require assistance attending scheduled external medical appointments
  • Residents who have a clearly established pattern of receiving Shared Care

In accordance with the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 enacted by the State Coordinator, eligible visitors will be restricted from entering any Bene facility if the person:

  • Has returned from overseas or interstate in the last 14 days
  • Has been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or someone awaiting the results of COVID-19 testing in the last 14 days
  • Has a temperature of higher than 37.5℃ or symptoms of a respiratory infection such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
  • Has not had the 2020 seasonal influenza vaccination. Proof of vaccination will be required – this is a Government-mandated requirement.
  • Is aged under 16 years other than in circumstances of providing end of life support for a relative

Visits by a Nominated Authorised Visitor

  • Residents and their families are asked to nominate one (1) family representative who will be authorised to visit during this phase of visitor restrictions
  • Visits by the Nominated Authorised Visitor must be pre-booked and must adhere to strict COVID-19 visitor guidelines
  • Visits by the Nominated Authorised Visitor will be limited to two (2) visits per week and no more than 45 minutes per visit (e.g. Maria is the Nominated Authorised Visitor and books to visit on Monday 10:00-10:45 and Thursday 1:45-2:30)
  • Visits can only occur in a resident’s room, outdoors or in a specific designated area, with appropriate social distancing measures
  • Temperature screening, COVID-19 declaration, travel/contact declaration and visiting declaration will be required upon arrival

Prior to Booking a Visit

To Make an Authorised Visitor Booking

  • Send an email to bookings@bene.org.au with the following information:
    • Name of the Residential Care Home
    • Name of the resident
    • Name and contact details of the Nominated Authorised Visitor
    • Preferred visiting date (weekdays only) and time (between 0930-1130 and 1300-1700) Limit of two (2) visits per week.
  • Bene will send you an email confirming the date(s) and time(s) of your visit(s).

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, please cancel your booking and do not visit.

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 Nominated Authorised Visitors.

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 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.