10 September 2020
Dear Mercy Place Templestowe residents and families
An update from our home
I wanted to write to you as soon as possible today to give you an update about what has been happening at our home in response to the notification that one of our team has tested positive for coronavirus.
I appreciate that this news might create some anxiety for you, particularly because of extensive media coverage about outbreaks in aged care in Victoria. I will be sending you these updates each day so that you have the latest information direct from our home. I will include as much detail as I can at the time I send them to give you a very clear picture of what we are doing and a sense of what our residents and staff might be seeing that is different from our usual environment. As you know, we have government imposed visitor restrictions and only in exceptional circumstances will visitors be allowed in.
Today all of our residents appear well no residents have any respiratory or other symptoms. We are conducting more frequent and carefully documented observations of residents’ health and wellbeing and we will be treating even the mildest symptoms as possible signs of infection. In this situation we will leave nothing to chance.
What has been happening since yesterday evening?
Since we learned of the positive case yesterday afternoon, we have had calls from families checking up on their loved ones. Thank you for getting in touch and thank you for the many families who have shared words of support and encouragement. They are greatly appreciated.
We will phone each family regularly to provide reassurance and to answer any questions you might have. This is an enormous logistical effort but something that families at other homes where we have successfully responded to the notice of a case have told us is reassuring. Until we can again open our home to visitors we will need to work with residents and families to maintain strong communication.
We were given very little notice but most of you will be aware from phone calls that a coronavirus testing team attended our home today to provide coronavirus swab testing for all residents and staff. When we have all results from testing we will be in a better position to assess the immediate level of risk we face. We will let you know as soon as we are able.
A coronavirus test involves a relatively quick and simple swab of the throat and the nasal cavity, but can cause some brief discomfort. Please also be assured it is standard procedure to test everyone at a home where there has been a positive case in either staff or residents.
You will be aware that testing is one of the best ways to trace the spread of the virus in our community. Doing this within 24 hours of the notification is very helpful to try to get ahead of any transmission. I know many of you will feel reassured that our home will have access to this important safety measure.
Deep cleaning and hygiene
We are conducting a deep clean of our home today. Moving forward, we will increase the frequency of our regular cleans of each room to further minimise any risk of infection. Residents may notice a slightly stronger smell of bleach because of the cleaning chemicals we are using. We regularly use these chemicals at our home, but the deep cleaning and extra cleaning cycles might make that bleach smell a bit more noticeable.
Protecting everyone from possible infection
To further protect residents and staff, we have staff wearing full personal protective equipment, known as PPE (masks, gowns and gloves). PPE is an effective way to protect residents and staff from infection. They are not an absolute guarantee of protection from all infection, and they do not protect staff from transmission in the community while they are not at work, but combined with other safety measures like physical distancing and limiting the movement of staff across areas of our home, they are valuable in the overall effort to limit infection.
Staff put on (don) these items of protective equipment before they enter a resident’s room and remove it (doff) afterwards. They also sanitise their hands in between any contacts. Our infection control nurse consultant has been at the home today providing the team with additional guidance in donning and doffing PPE to minimise the risk of infection, over and above the training we have already provided to staff in appropriate PPE use.
As you can imagine, we will be receiving large deliveries of PPE to support this process. We also have additional waste transfer services in place to regularly and safely remove the used items from our site.
We can never say that infection will not breach these barriers and methods but we continue to pursue them because anything we can do to limit infection is considered valuable.
A large order of PPE was despatched to us today and more is due to arrive in coming days and weeks. All staff will be wearing the appropriate PPE as prescribed by the Department of Health and Human Services (Victorian Government).
Good clinical advice
Mercy Health has access to expert clinical advice. We report regularly to our own consultant Infectious Diseases Physician, Dr David Turner, with any issues that require expert advice on our approach to hygiene and infection control or the management of staff and resident care where coronavirus could be a factor.
Wellbeing is more than medical checks
Be assured that we are doing everything we can for our residents to support them during this difficult time. Our lifestyle team will be making extra visits to residents. We will also be making those calls to families that I mentioned earlier, to keep everyone as connected and informed as possible. We also have access to an extra tablet device thanks to the generosity of a Mercy Health Foundation donor, so we can help families and residents to remain connected through video calls on Zoom. Please let us know if you would like us to arrange a video call.
What happens next?
It is a natural reaction to want more rather than less detail when confronted with a stressful situation like this. I know that some people reading these updates will want to know more about the staff member who tested positive. Out of respect to our staff and their right to privacy, we do not share this information. This is a basic protection for everyone in our home – residents and staff alike. Thank you for understanding.
Please feel free to share the information in these updates with other family members and loved ones, where possible. We are more than happy to take your calls if you have any concerns or comments, but it would help us greatly if each family could arrange that only our residents’ primary contacts call us. That person can then relay any information to other loved ones. We appreciate that this may not work for every family, but it would help us considerably as we try to manage all of the extra requirements that this current state of alert brings.
Update your email address
We currently have email addresses for many primary contacts but not all. If you are the primary contact and have an email address and are happy to receive these daily updates by email, it is a big help to us and frees up our staff for the many other tasks we need to complete throughout the day.
We want everyone to know how we are managing our response and we want to know what concerns residents and families at all times. This means you can also call us at any time if you have concerns.
Of course, if you have a specific or personal question, please call the Clinical Care Coordinator. For general personal updates or questions, it is helpful if you can call between 10am–2pm. This will give our team the chance to focus on residents during times of higher activity while still providing a good block of time for us to speak with you.
I apologise for the length of this update. I will try to make future updates shorter, but it is important for us to share what we are doing and to stay connected with you throughout this response period.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we focus on the health and safety of our residents and staff.
I look forward to providing you with a further update tomorrow.
Mercy Place Templestowe
This letter provides an update about a confirmed case of coronavirus within our residential aged care home.
Mercy Health is working closely with government to respond quickly and effectively. We have increased hygiene, cleaning and infection control measures.
If you have difficulty understanding this letter, please ask a family member or friend to help translate.
Αυτή η επιστολή παρέχει ενημέρωση σχετικά με ένα επιβεβαιωμένο κρούσμα κοροναϊού εντός του δικού μας κέντρου φροντίδας ηλικιωμένων.
Η «Mercy Health» συνεργάζεται στενά με την κυβέρνηση, ώστε να μπορεί να ανταποκρίνεται γρήγορα και αποτελεσματικά. Έχουμε αυξήσει τα μέτρα υγιεινής, καθαριότητας και ελέγχου των λοιμώξεων.
Εάν δυσκολεύεστε να κατανοήσετε αυτή την επιστολή, παρακαλούμε, ζητήστε από κάποιο μέλος της οικογένειας σας ή από κάποιον φίλο σας να σας βοηθήσει στην μετάφραση της.
Deze brief geeft een update over een bevestigd geval van coronavirus binnen ons bejaardentehuis.
Mercy Health werk nauw samen met de overheid om snel en efficiënt te reageren. We hebben de maatregelen omtrent hygiëne, schoonmaken en bestrijding van infecties verhoogd.
Als u deze brief niet goed begrijpt, vraag dan aan een familielid of een vriend om u te helpen bij de vertaling.
Ten list zawiera aktualne informacje o potwierdzonym przypadku koronawirusa w naszym domu opieki dla osób starszych.
Mercy Health ściśle współpracuje z rządem, aby reagować w sposób szybki i skuteczny. Zwiększyliśmy środki higieny, czyszczenia i kontroli zakażeń.
W przypadku trudności ze zrozumieniem tego listu, należy poprosić członka rodziny lub przyjaciela o pomoc w jego przetłumaczeniu.
Thư này đưa ra cập nhật về ca nhiễm virus corona đã xác nhận trong viện dưỡng lão.
Mercy Health đang làm việc chặt chẽ với chính phủ để phản hồi nhanh và hiệu quả. Chúng tôi đã tăng cường thêm các biện pháp kiểm soát lây nhiễm, vệ sinh và lau dọn.
Nếu quý vị không hiểu rõ thư này, hãy yêu cầu một thành viên trong gia đình hoặc bạn bè dịch giúp.
Questa comunicazione è un aggiornamento riguardante un caso confermato di coronavirus all’interno delle nostre strutture residenziali per anziani.
Mercy Health sta lavorando con il governo per fornire una risposta veloce ed efficace. Abbiamo aumentato le misure di igiene, pulizia e controllo delle infezioni.
Se hai difficoltà a comprendere questa comunicazione, chiedi a un famigliare o ad un amico di aiutarti a tradurla.
Last reviewed September 10, 2020.