Statement from Sonya Smart, CEO
Wednesday 22 April 2020
I am writing in response to the government’s recent national address on Tuesday 21 April 2020, regarding residential aged care and visitation.
This address failed to highlight the positive impact of the rapid and responsive restrictions implemented by the aged care industry. Not only have the restrictions protected the health and welfare of residents and employees, minimal outbreaks and deaths have occurred due to COVID-19.
To date at VMCH, our stringent measures have successfully mitigated the risk to residents and staff, keeping them safe with no reported COVID-19 cases at any residences or other VMCH services. While I acknowledge the government’s address, this does not mean that we can relax our approach.
At VMCH we continue to uphold the very difficult decision to restrict visitors to all VMCH aged care residences. We implemented this restriction to protect the health and wellbeing of those in our care, and our staff. I want to reiterate that this decision was not made lightly.
Despite the government’s position that all aged care providers should adhere to their recommendation of a maximum of two visitors per day, we maintain that the only way to protect the hundreds of residents in our care is to fully restrict visitation. We continue to monitor and assess the situation day to day, and we are planning our approach to relaxing visitation restrictions for when it is safe to do so.
It is important that during this time, you prepare for future visiting by organising your flu vaccination. As of 1 May 2020, it is compulsory for all visitors to aged care residences to have had their 2020 flu vaccination. This is required under Victorian Government State of Emergency Directions and Commonwealth Government guidelines. A certificate of vaccination is required and must be shown upon arrival. A copy will be kept on file at the residence.
Alternatively, we require a medical certificate certifying that you experienced anaphylaxis or Guillain-Barre Syndrome following vaccination, or you are on point inhibitor drugs for cancer treatment. Unfortunately, we are not able to allow other exemptions.
We appreciate that this has and continues to be a very difficult time for you and the staff caring for your loved ones. We have continued to support our staff to deliver the best loving care so that they can continue to support your loved ones and make this time as enjoyable as possible.
If you would like to see more of what our residents and staff have been up to during this time, please connect with us through the many stories and pictures we have on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.