It’s hard to believe it’s only four days until Christmas! The humidity is high in much of the country as we head into the holiday season and many are facing significant storms and flooding. This time last year we were battling bushfires and then the pandemic came to our shores.
Keeping safe this holiday season
Since Victoria was able to get community transmission of COVID-19 under control in October, we have enjoyed a relatively calm period with State and Territory borders reopening and people travelling once again. It was therefore distressing to hear the news last week of a growing cluster of locally acquired cases in Sydney’s Northern Beaches area. With that area now in lockdown and increased restrictions for people living in other areas of Sydney, as well as the Blue Mountains, Illawarra and Central Coast, it is a reminder as we head into the holidays that we must remain vigilant in our efforts against the virus.
It is important as we gather with family and friends over the break that we continue to observe the guidelines that have enabled us to be free to meet and gather with our loved ones this Christmas. So many around the world are struggling with third waves of the virus - bringing massive case numbers, a tragically high number of deaths and strict lockdowns once again.
So, let’s continue to do our part and maintain excellent hand hygiene, physical distancing wherever possible, good cough etiquette and most importantly get ourselves tested if we have any symptoms of the virus. With vaccines rolling out overseas we hope that 2021 will see a safe and effective vaccine available here in Australia, but until then we must continue to guard against further outbreaks.
Our commitment to safety
As I have said throughout the year, our number one priority is keeping our clients and staff safe so we can guarantee the safe continuity of services to our clients. We are proactive in this endeavor and have always applied a precautionary approach when implementing procedures to safeguard both clients and staff.
One way we do this is through our infection control measures. Currently our frontline staff in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland are required to wear a surgical mask when they are delivering services to clients. As people travel around the country for the first time in many months, face masks add an extra layer of protection for both clients and staff and can reduce the risk of transmission of the virus should outbreaks occur due to the increased movement of people and the loosening of restrictions.
Our staff will continue to self-screen prior to attending work to ensure they are well and will not work if they are sick or awaiting a COVID-19 test result. Staff will continue to ask you our screening questions prior to commencing your service or on your arrival at one of our Centres. We continue to review our policies and procedures based on government health advice and the current situation. While some of our mandates go beyond state requirements, we feel that it is our responsibility to mitigate against risk wherever possible, especially as the threat of further outbreaks is still very real and we care for a high-risk client group.
Our latest client newsletter
I hope you enjoy reading our latest client newsletter which should be arriving in mailboxes this week. You can also read it on our website. It’s a great wrap up of the way we’ve all adapted to the challenges of the year.
Virtual community forums in 2021
In February and March next year we’ll be running online community forums to help older people and their families understand and navigate the aged care system. If you have friends or family who may be starting on their own aged care journey, please encourage them to keep an eye out for more details about these forums which we’ll be publishing on our Facebook page and website, as well as advertising locally. As the forums are being held virtually, anyone who is interested in learning more about aged care services, how you can access care, how aged care is funded and the many services and programs we offer to help people stay safe and well in their own homes, is able to attend.
Thank you so much for your continued support throughout the year and I hope you and your loved ones have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
Stay safe and take care.
Chief Executive Officer
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