Dear residents, friends and family members
Updated 14 August 2020
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement this evening that Auckland is to remain at Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand at Level 2 for another 12 days until 26 August, we will continue with our Level 4 precautions in our care homes across all our villages which will remain in full lockdown, with no access to family members, other visitors, volunteers or non-essential personnel. As with the previous lockdowns, we’re front-footing this crisis to actively manage any risk, and the steps we’re taking go above and beyond the Government guidelines in many instances, in order to reduce any possibility of the virus entering our safe care environments.
All our care staff are now wearing surgical masks while at work and are practising physical distancing unless providing personal cares to residents. We’ve implemented cohort nursing and – whilst our staff are already highly trained in infection control – we’ve initiated refresher training on best practice procedures around the use of personal protective equipment (mask, gown, gloves and goggles), in the event that this becomes necessary. We continue to be particularly vigilant of residents’ health, taking temperatures and observations on a regular basis and closely monitoring for any changes. Any residents who become unwell or appear to be symptomatic will be cared for in isolation in their room until they’re cleared by the GP.
Our care staff are able to assist any residents who would like to go out for a breath of fresh air, and our diversional therapists and activities coordinators are focussed on providing a busy programme of engagement-in-life interests and activities. We understand that family members will be anxious to hear about how their loved one is doing over this lockdown period. You are of course welcome to phone and speak to your relative at any time, and we’ll assist with keeping them in touch with you via all the technological means at our disposal. Please do let us know what your preferred method of contact is, and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen.
In light of the recent cases of COVID-19 detected in Auckland, we also wanted to let you know of our procedures in the event that any of our staff believe they may have been in contact with someone in the wider community who’s been exposed to the virus. Our standard procedure in such cases will be to place the individual on discretionary leave in order for them to be tested. Provided their test is negative (we’ll need formal proof of this) and they’re symptom-free, they may return to the workplace. As a number of locations, schools and workplaces have now been identified – where those who’ve recently contracted COVID-19 have either worked or attended – we’re checking with all our staff to make sure that neither they (nor their close family members or contacts) could have been exposed.
All our staff are temperature-checked and are required to complete our health status declaration form before starting their shift. Staff with any cold or flu-like symptoms will be stood down until they’ve been tested and returned a negative result and are clear of symptoms for 48 hours. Any staff members who are considered to be in the vulnerable category (ie, aged 70-plus or with health conditions) have been stood down with pay and supported with welfare services.
Therefore, please be assured that every possible measure is being taken to keep our care homes free of the virus and to protect our vulnerable residents and our staff alike.
As a reminder to all our care families, the COVID-19 symptoms to watch out for include: a cough, a high temperature (at least 37.5˚C), shortness of breath, a sore throat, sneezing and runny nose, a temporary loss of smell, and conjunctivitis. If you develop any of these symptoms, contact your GP or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453; make sure you get tested for COVID-19, if your GP recommends it. Information on maintaining health and wellbeing at this time is available on the Government website: covid19.govt.nz.
We would like to reassure you that Selwyn is taking a highly precautionary approach in the face of this ever present threat. As a responsible provider of services to older people, it’s The Selwyn Foundation’s duty to do everything possible to protect the health and safety of its vulnerable residents and staff, and to reduce any possible risk so that our care homes and wider village communities remain COVID-free to the benefit of one and all.
We’ll be providing regular updates as we go forward, but if you’ve an immediate query or concern about your loved one’s care and wellbeing, please don’t hesitate to contact your Village or Care Manager.
Until next time – stay safe, stay well and be kind.