Blue Haven will maintain its current policies on vaccination, visitor numbers and will still require staff and visitors to be screened for COVID and Influenza before entering our Residential Aged Care Facility, despite this week’s NSW Public Health Order which allows aged care facilities to relax some requirements.
Residents of aged care homes are among the most vulnerable to severe outcomes of COVID-19 and influenza and residential aged care settings are high-risk transmission settings for respiratory viruses.
The latest figures from the Department of Health state that 6,497 aged care homes in Australia have experienced a COVID-19 outbreak, with 857 care homes currently experiencing an active outbreak. (COVID-19 outbreaks in Australian residential aged care facilities – 15 July 2022 (health.gov.au). These numbers have increased in recent weeks.
The total number of resident cases related to the recent outbreaks is 10,330.
The National Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly has noted last week that outbreaks in aged care will continue to occur with vaccination, anti-viral medications, masks and entrance screening / testing being key prevention criteria.
Aged Care providers met online with The Hon Anika Wells MP Minister for Aged Care and deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd on Monday 18 July to discuss the many concerns and challenges. A further meeting with representatives from MP Wells’ parliamentary office, local Federal MP’s and local aged care providers will meet in Albion Park on Tuesday 19 July to also discuss workforce and funding issues.
Blue Haven COVID case
Blue Haven has responded to a recent news article in the Illawarra Mercury about Blue Haven Aged Care Home resident Kevin Whalan, 93, who passed away in Shoalhaven Hospital 10 days after testing positive to COVID-19.
“Our sincere condolences go out to the Whalan family for the passing of their father,” said Joe Gaudiosi, Blue Haven Interim Chief Operating Officer.
“The health and wellbeing of our residents is our utmost priority. Blue Haven follows NSW COVID-19 guidelines and procedures which are constantly changing”, said Mr Gaudiosi.
Out of our Blue Haven Aged Care residents, 92% have received four doses of the COVID vaccine. A further 3% of residents have had three doses (as was the case for Mr Whalan) and a small number of residents have chosen not to be vaccinated. These figures are in line with aged care industry standards.
The former resident tested positive to COVID-19 on 16 June and was hospitalised on the same day.
During his time in hospital, Blue Haven’s Assistant Care Manager contacted the family to enquire about the patient’s state of health. The Lifestyle Team also put together a video package of messages from our residents to Mr Whalan, following a request from the family.
When the family contacted the Director of Care and Operations to advise the resident had passed away, our personal condolences were expressed.
“Normally the family would receive an ‘in-memoriam package’ when they arrive to collect the deceased resident’s belongings,” said Mr Gaudiosi. “Unfortunately, since the family arrived on a Sunday, this usual process did not occur”.
Mr. Whalan was acknowledged in our Blue Haven ‘memorial corner’ which is located in the facility reception area. The memoriam table includes photos and dates to honour residents who are no longer with us.
He was also included in the ‘In Memoriam’ section of the June newsletter to residents.
We understand the weather compounded the family’s grief as Kiama Cemetery was inundated by floodwaters at the time.
We recognise this is a very challenging time for all those who have family members and loved ones in aged care.
We also acknowledge our Blue Haven aged care staff that continue to work tirelessly around the clock to keep our residents safe and healthy.
“The global pandemic has been a trying time for the aged care sector, with additional stress on staff, residents and the families and friends of those residential aged care, and Blue Haven is not immune to these challenges”, said Mr Gaudiosi.
“This is the first COVID related death we have had at Blue Haven and unfortunately this tragedy has occurred despite our sustained vigilance at the facility.”
We do not currently have any COVID cases at Blue Haven.
19th Jul 2022