Our response to COVID-19
We have made a number of important changes to the way we provide care for our residents in response to COVID-19
At Estia Health our continued focus is the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents and employees. Since the pandemic began, we have evolved the way we care for our residents in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and we are continuing to closely monitor the changing situation and advice.
It’s encouraging to see that with the country’s increased vaccination rate, regions are beginning to stabilise and restrictions are starting to ease. However, we know the situation can quickly change. We continue to follow stringent infection and prevention control measures to safely care for residents and our employees. We continue to assess the situation and ensure we are prepared for any increased risk to our homes.
Infection prevention and control is central to mitigating the risk of COVID-19 and at Estia Health this is guided by the latest expert advice we receive from government departments and specialist infection prevention and control partners providing ongoing education and auditing of our homes.
Trained and educated employees
Our employees receive ongoing training and education in infection prevention and control protocols and we have a dedicated nurse in homes responsible for infection prevention and control measures. Our teams are supported by a national infection prevention and control specialist providing ongoing education and conducting regular audits of our homes.
Since March 2020, we have offered employees paid quarantine leave to ensure no employee has to come to work if they have symptoms or have had potential contact with COVID-19. We also follow all required state government directions with employees required to report any potential exposure to COVID-19, while waiting for a COVID-19 test result, or displaying any COVID-19 symptoms.
We know an important part of our response to COVID-19 is to provide safe and meaningful opportunities for our residents to connect with their families and friends.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been scientifically proven to reduce the impact of the virus and is a vital line of defence, helping us live our lives more freely, protect our families and friends and reduce the frequency of lockdowns. Most importantly, a high vaccination rate will help to protect those living in residential aged care.
Throughout 2021, we worked with both the Commonwealth Government and Sonic Healthcare to carry out vaccination clinics for residents and employees. All Estia Health employees in our homes have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination*. All residents were offered the opportunity to receive the vaccine through onsite clinics in our homes with a high uptake across the majority of our homes.
Vaccination is a key element of our plan to reduce the impact of the virus on our residents and employees and we will follow all future guidance regarding booster vaccinations.
*unless medically exempt
If you are visiting an Estia Health home
It is important if you are visiting one of our homes that you are aware of our visiting procedures and any current state restrictions as well as any restricted access our homes may also have in place.
When you enter our homes, please follow all government and Estia Health directions and guidance which will include a screening questionnaire, temperature check and any other protocols the home specifies. It’s vitally important you pay attention to each of our home’s procedures, as these may vary to other sign-in screening processes you’re used to and have been designed to protect residents in our care.
Please also remember to practice good hand hygiene, using the available hand sinks, hand sanitiser and wipes the home provides, and only visit if you are well.
If one of our homes is managing a COVID outbreak, there maybe short periods of time when we ask that only essential care visitors, visit the home. Should this be required we will communicate with residents’ closest contacts, via our Estia Health Connect App.
Support and resources
We understand that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected us all and the increased social isolation and loss of connection can have a lasting impact.
In our homes, we provide ongoing support for our residents, particularly during increased restrictions when they may not be able to see loved ones as regularly as before or have been impacted by the loss of a loved one or family member.
There are several resources available to support you and your loved ones at this difficult time:
- The Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN): has a range of resources available to support residents and their families through the COVID-19 pandemic
- Beyond Blue: provide a range of resources and services to support people with their mental health and wellbeing, including resources tailored to older Australians
- Carer Gateway: includes information and resources for unpaid carers looking after a family friend or loved one, including how you can access short-term respite care
- Head to Health: provides access to a range of digital mental health resources from trusted providers