A number of measures are in place to keep elderly people safe.
A number of measures are in place to keep elderly people safe.

Bundy aged care facilities ramp up caution in wake of corona

TWO of Bundaberg's major aged care providers have provided insight into how they are managing the outbreak of Covid-19.

A spokesman for Blue Care, who run the Riverlea and Pioneer facilities, say they currently have no cases of the virus among their residents or employees, but are prearing nonetheless.

"Blue Care has been undertaking significant pandemic preparedness and scenario planning activities to ensure we are as prepared as possible for any community outbreak of Covid-19 or transmission of the virus to any of our employees, volunteers, residents or clients," a spokesman said.

"UnitingCare (which operates Blue Care) has stood up a central pre-outbreak crisis management team in recent weeks per standard company protocol in preparation for pandemics, and we are following our Covid-19 response plan.

"Key clinical Blue Care and UnitingCare officers are in regular contact with Queensland Health and other public health officials to ensure our response preparedness and outbreak response strategies are aligned to Federal and State Government agency planning."

The aged care provider has taken a number of steps to ensure the spread of the illness to residents and staff is minimal.

These include enhancing infection control measures, preparation and distribution of outbreak kits to be used if anyone develops symptoms, mandating social distancing with employees and volunteers, reinforcing hygiene and hand washing and restricting international and interstate travel for employees.

The spokesman said employee travel within Queensland was also being limited to essential clinical and care services only.

The organisation is also denying visits from guests who have travelled interstate or internationally within 14 days due to the high risk of carrying the virus.

Children should not visit Blue Care facilities unless absolutely necessary, and people wanting to visit outside of the standard hours of 10am-12pm and 3-6pm will need to seek approval from resident managers.

"We may institute further restrictions (including lockdown of our aged are homes) should the developing situation across Queensland warrant it, or if we are requested to by the Federal Department of Health or Queensland Health," the spokesman said.

"We are communicating organisation-wide with all of our employees and volunteers at regular planned intervals with clear direction and updates per current Federal Department of Health and Queensland Health advice."

Carinity, which operates the Kepnock Grove facility, also has a number of measures in place.

A spokesman said the facility was closely following health guidelines.

"Carinity has a comprehensive infection management and control system in place which includes procedures to be followed anyone entering our services (including visitors, contractors and staff)," he said.

"All Carinity aged care sites have been locked down. Anyone wishing to enter our sites from tomorrow will need to have their temperature checked and will only be allowed entry if their temperature is below 37.5 degrees celsius."

In addition, the spokesman said only close family or resident representatives (limited to two) may enter aged care sites and visits must be held in residents' private rooms.

As for staff, all Carinity staff must declare if they have travelled overseas and will not be able to return to work until they have self-isolated for 14 days.

"Staff may not attend work if they are unwell and will require a medical certificate to return to work," the spokesman said.

The NewsMail has contacted Bundaberg and Gayndah's surrounding aged care facilities for comment but a response from those facilities has not yet been received. 

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