18
March
2020
|
03:28
Australia/Melbourne

Updates from Bupa NZ regarding COVID-19

Please find below the latest updates on COVID-19.

06 April - Media release from Hawke's Bay District Health Board

The Ministry of Health reported four Covid-19 cases in Hawke’s Bay, today - two probable and two confirmed. This takes the total for the region to 33.

Probable cases, are cases that are a close contact of a previously confirmed case that meets the clinical criteria of having COVID-19.

Of today’s confirmed cases one is a female in her 60s who has recently returned from overseas directly into isolation, and there is no other contact tracing required.

One confirmed (male in his 30s) case and one probable (female in her 20s) case have attended large gatherings in other areas of New Zealand and public health is actively investigating if these cases are related to clusters elsewhere in the country. If there is any wider risk to the community it will be communicated and anyone that may be a close contact will be contacted by public health.

The other probable case (male in his 60s) is a household contact of a confirmed case and there is no further contact tracing required.

All of today’s cases are recovering well and no-one has required hospital treatment.

Today, the district health board releases a table broken down into territorial authority boundaries of where confirmed COVID-19 cases are located. (This includes probable numbers). This table also shows the recovered cases by locality.

Medical Officer of Health Rachel Eyre said the district health board had provided transparent information from the outset of the pandemic, where there was a wider risk to the public from a confirmed case. In particular we have identified specific outbreaks of any confirmed groups such as the Ruby Princess and the Gladys Mary Care Home.

"Releasing this table, as the numbers have grown, means there is less likelihood of people being identified. The majority of Hawke’s Bay cases are returned overseas travelers and all have done the right thing by self-isolating upon their return. The numbers won’t be broken down any further to protect the identities of people with COVID-19.

"We want to find anyone who has COVID-19, that is our priority. The changed Ministry of Health definition for testing, allows for more tests to be completed removing the requirement for having been overseas or in contact with a confirmed case.

Dr Eyre said she strongly encouraged people who developed or had a cold or flu-like illness and one of the following: a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, a runny nose or loss of smell, regardless of whether or not they have a temperature, to call their GP or Healthline to be referred to one of our community testing stations.

"We have the testing capacity, and New Zealand’s laboratories have the capacity to process the tests, so please take advantage of this."

Today’s Ministry of Health national case updates can be found here: https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/ 

 

 

03 April - Media release from Hawke's Bay District Health Board

The Ministry of Health reported five Covid-19 cases in Hawke’s Bay, today – three probable and two confirmed. This takes the total for the region to 24.

Probable cases, are cases that are a close contact of a previously confirmed case that meets the clinical criteria of having COVID-19.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Nick Jones said the two confirmed cases, both in their 50s, had returned from overseas and self-isolated upon their return. Flight details have been passed onto the national close contact centre for identification and follow- up.

Dr Jones said of the three probable cases; one was a child who was a close household contact of a previously confirmed case. The child was isolated at home and hadn’t required medical attention. The other two probable cases were two residents at Gladys Mary Care Home, Napier.

Gladys Mary Care Home now has a group of five residents – three confirmed and two probable cases - of COVID-19. The five cases were doing well and none of them had required additional medical assistance, at this stage, he said.

Dr Jones said Hawke’s Bay DHB was working closely with Bupa, the owners of the care home, and additional support; including registered and student nurses to help staff at the home, a liaison person with the DHB and the care home had also been established along with further Personal Protective Equipment, (PPE) had been provided.

Bupa was working hard to keep residents separated, as was practically possible within a dementia care home context. “We have been reassured by Bupa that they have been able to maintain their high standards of care for their residents, during this time,” Dr Jones said.

Dr Jones reiterated that anyone unwell with a cough, fever, sneezing or a runny nose to contact their GP or call Healthline so they could be assessed. Dr Jones reminded people that they needed an appointment at a CBAC before they could be assessed.

People are also able to call Healthline’s free 24/7 dedicated COVID-19 number on 0800 358 5453 for advice. Interpreters are available on request.

Today’s Ministry of Health national case updates can be found here: https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/

 


03 April - Information sent to care home residents their families. 

We really appreciate your cooperation, patience and understanding as we all adjust our daily routines in response to COVID-19, and the Alert Level 4 in place across New Zealand.

As a reminder, everyone except “essential workers” is expected to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our team at Bupa are classified as “essential workers”, and we continue to support you all as we navigate these changing and unforeseen times together.

Unfortunately, we know from overseas experience with COVID-19 infections, older Kiwis are among the most vulnerable groups who can be affected by this virus. We must do everything we possibly can to protect our precious older Kiwis. Therefore, we are taking the following steps to limit exposure to COVID-19 and help everyone stay well.

Enhanced infection prevention and control measures in place

Across all our Care Homes in New Zealand, we continue to apply strict infection prevention and control measures. These include ceasing all visitor access to our Care Homes and emphasising both physical distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols.

We understand and empathise with you about not being able to visit your loved ones in person during this time. Please know that we are acting in line with Ministry of Health instructions and with the best interests of all our residents and staff in mind.

Helping you stay connected to your loved ones

To make sure your loved one can reach you at any time, where possible we recommend that you provide them with a device like a cell phone or tablet/iPad for their personal use in the Care Home. We can connect these devices to our resident WiFi network for you.

This week we are also providing an extra laptop and several cell phones to each Care Home to use for residents’ purposes only. We understand your frustration if you cannot contact your loved one immediately, but we are doing our best to share these devices amongst all our residents. We will help your loved ones make and receive calls on these devices. Your Care Home Manager will advise you of the contact details of these as soon as possible.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

In general, our Bupa team members do not need to wear gloves in an environment where there is no infection present; be it COVID-19 or seasonal flu. This remains the advice from the Ministry of Health. However, some of our staff may choose to wear a mask purely from personal choice at this time. This is a Government decision and we are implementing this across our sites in New Zealand. We are monitoring Public Health information daily and remain guided by them.

Guidance for palliative care visits

Following the closure of our Care Homes to visitors last week, we have reviewed our guidelines for palliative care visits. The only exception to Care Home closures are for families of those residents nearing end of life, with visiting access being then at the discretion of the Care Home Manager and carefully managed with PPE worn in public areas.

The palliative visiting criteria is:

 Limit of one visitor per resident at a time.

 The visitor is to wear PPE only while moving through public areas, e.g. a mask and gloves. This PPE may be removed when in the resident’s room.

 Follow strict hygiene protocols.

 Stay in the resident’s room during visits.

 Limit visit duration to a reasonable time.

 If the family requests more than one member to visit the resident, it will be at the Care Home Manager’s discretion and also as a separate solo visit.

In all instances, we ask that you please contact the Care Home first to arrange your visit before arrival. Once again, I thank you for your support and cooperation through these challenging times. Together we will get through this and be stronger for it.

 

 

02 April - Information sent to the families of our rehabilitation clients. 

Last week we put restrictions on visits to Bupa Rehabilitation Facilities, to minimise the number and length of visits. We want to do everything we can to prevent the risk of infection in our rehabilitation facilities, to protect our clients and employees.

We have made the important decision that effective immediately there will be no visitors allowed.

This is following the current Government enforced status of COVID-19 Alert Level 4, and the increased importance to keep our clients and employees protected against infection.

As the number of COVID-19 infections in New Zealand continues to rise, every person entering a rehabilitation facility poses a greater risk of carrying the virus.

Our employees and other essential health workers attending the rehabilitation facility continue to comply with stringent health disclosure rules and respiratory etiquette to protect against the risk of infection.

Our wonderful team members are committed to caring for our clients through this time, as rehabilitation facilities are essential services that will continue to operate while many other workplaces are closed.

We know that stopping visits will be difficult for you and your loved ones so will be working with our teams to implement other ways that you can keep in contact, including:

  • Phone calls
  • Video calls
  • Social media

While we will be supplying extra devices to our sites, we are also encouraging relatives to bring in personal devices – which can be picked up by our team at the front door.

We appreciate your understanding about this change, and we will continue to communicate with you about your loved one and the steps we are taking to keep them safe. 

 

 

01 April - Information sent to retirement village residents. 

We thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we all adjust our daily routines in response to COVID-19, and the Alert Level 4 currently in place across New Zealand.

As a reminder, everyone is expected to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19 unless they are an essential worker. Our team at Bupa are classified as essential workers, and will continue to support you as we navigate these uncertain times together.

Unfortunately we know from the overseas experience so far, that older Kiwis will be among the more vulnerable groups to the virus, so we want to do our utmost to protect you during this time. This is why we are taking the following steps to limit your exposure and help you stay well.

Food shopping and meals

  • The Government continues to strongly recommend that people over 70 stay at home. We ask that you please stay in your apartment, villa or unit. Your Village Manager will support you to access groceries and essential supplies if needed.
  • The meal service has resumed in almost all of our villages.

Keeping our villages safe

  • To make sure we can monitor who is coming and leaving your village, our intention is to lock all main public entry doors to community centres and to apartments.
  • We understand this may be difficult for some, especially for apartment residents, and we apologise for any inconvenience. However we believe this measure is for the greater good of you and your fellow residents.
  • If you receive groceries from your loved ones, we will work with you and your family around the best way for you to receive these, and will make sure these get delivered to your door.
  • We are working out the details of providing extra Bupa staff especially over the holiday periods. We expect to have some if not all of our extra helpers in place by this coming weekend.
  • Please note that care homes next to Bupa villages will remain locked with no visitors permitted.

Protecting your health

  • Our Bupa team members will not be wearing gloves or masks in your village as per the advice from the Ministry of Health, as this is not necessary for day to day interactions so long as physical distancing is carried out. We are monitoring Public Health information on a daily basis and will adapt our measures when guided by them.
  • We need to make sure we use our personal protective equipment (PPE) in appropriate situations and manage our stocks well. Our Bupa team will use PPE in situations where there is a risk of blood or body fluids exposure, or in the case of COVID-19, for use in isolation precautions for a suspected or confirmed infectious resident.
  • Influenza vaccinations will be made available to you where possible at your village. Where this isn’t possible, we recommend you visit your GP or pharmacy to get this done and that this is a justified reason to leave your village. Please note that the current flu vaccination does not immunise against COVID-19 but will help to protect you against seasonal flu.

Thank you again for your understanding and support at this time. Please do speak to your Village Manager if you have any queries or concerns.

 


31 March - A statement from Carolyn Cooper - Managing Director Bupa Villages and Aged Care New Zealand.

We have been notified by Public Health in New Zealand that a further two residents, who are in isolation in the dementia community at Gladys Mary Care Home, have tested positive for COVID-19. This is in addition to our resident who was confirmed positive last week.

These two residents are displaying mild symptoms and, under the guidance of Public Health, remain isolated in our dementia community at Gladys Mary Care Home.

Our staff continue to follow the strict infection, prevention and control measures that were swiftly put in place at the time of our first resident being tested for COVID-19 including use of personal protective equipment, additional cleaning and hygiene measures.

We are supporting the impacted residents and their families, and we will continue to work with Public Health.

We thank all residents’ families as we comply with Ministry of Health requirements to restrict visitors’ access to our Care Homes. We understand this is challenging for families and we ask for everyone’s patience and understanding with this precautionary and preventative measure.

The health and wellbeing of the residents at this care home, their families and our staff remains our absolute priority. Public Health will also continue their tracking and testing processes and they have our full cooperation.

We thank everyone for their ongoing support, patience and understanding during this time, particularly our team at Gladys Mary who are dedicated and committed to caring for our residents.

 

 

27 March - A statement from Carolyn Cooper - Managing Director Bupa Villages and Aged Care New Zealand.

We have been notified by Public Health in New Zealand that a resident in the dementia community at Gladys Mary Care Home has tested positive for COVID-19. This follows the “probable” classification of this same resident yesterday.

We can confirm this resident is recovering in isolation and we are wishing the resident well during their recovery.

The health and wellbeing of the residents at this care home, their families and our staff remains our absolute priority.

Public Health will decide and implement the relevant tracking and any testing for any who have had contact with the resident who has tested positive. We are working closely with Public Health and will implement their instruction on who needs to self-isolate. We are also following Public Health instructions for containment and further risk mitigation.

We’ve been in contact with the impacted resident’s family and our wider care home residents and their families. We continue to offer our support and provide reassurance to them on how we are caring for their family members.

No other Bupa site is affected by this isolated COVID-19 case. All of our care homes throughout New Zealand are closed to visitors, with continued strict infection prevention control protocols.

We are also supporting all of our staff as they care for our residents. We’d like to thank our staff, residents, their families and the Napier community for their support and understanding during this time.

 

27 March - A video message to the families of our residents from Carolyn Cooper - Managing Director Bupa Villages and Aged Care New Zealand
Click here

 

 

27 March - Radio New Zealand interview regarding Bupa's response to COVID-19 and an update on Gladys Mary Care Home with Carolyn Cooper - Managing Director Bupa Villages and Aged Care New Zealand.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018740416/covid-19-cluster-fears-at-rest-homes

 

 

26 March - A statement from Carolyn Cooper - Managing Director Bupa Villages and Aged Care New Zealand.

Bupa has been advised that we have a single probable COVID-19 case in our dementia community at Gladys Mary Care Home in Napier.

Our resident is a member of a 14-person community who live in close proximity. To ensure the safety of our residents and staff, the 14-person community has been placed into immediate isolation. Additional infection prevention control measures were immediately put in place, including additional restrictions, equipment and hygiene measures. For additional safety, we are treating the situation as an infection outbreak area.

The testing of our resident took place yesterday (Wednesday 25 March). The results are due to be back on Friday (27 March) and will be advised by Public Health.

We’ve been in contact with impacted residents’ families to offer our support and provide reassurance of how we are continuing to care for their family members. We know that this will be a difficult time for the families, as well as our residents and our team.

We are establishing which staff members had close contact with the probable resident case. All staff who had close contact with this resident have been asked to go into self-isolation for 14 days from the time of their last contact with our resident. Any staff who had casual contact with the resident have been permitted to continue work by Public Health.

The team at Gladys Mary are aware of this evolving situation and are committed to continuing to care for our residents. Our team will be using Personal Protective Equipment, including gowns, masks and gloves where required.

The Gladys Mary Rest Home has been shut to all visitors since Tuesday 24 March and will remain so.

We are working closely with Public Health and the local District Heath Board and continue to follow their advice.

No other Bupa site is affected by this probable case. We are maintaining our strict infection prevention control protocols, including no visitor access, hand hygiene and physical distancing across all of our sites.

We recognise this can be a stressful and anxious time for everyone and will provide more information as this situation evolves.

 

 

25 March - Bupa Care Home meals to Retirement Villages to continue

Bupa will now offer an adapted and appropriate Care Home meal service to Retirement Village residents.

Due to evolving clarity around the Govt’s designation essential services, public /community pre-prepared meal services are now no longer uniformly available across the country. We were relying on these external services being available for Retirement Village residents’ meal requirements and had attempted to facilitate and set this up.

However, it is now apparent we no longer have a full compliment of services to offer Retirement Village residents. Therefore we will now include an adapted and appropriate Care Home meal service for Retirement Village residents, for example using disposable plates, having a designated drop off point meals and other infection prevention control measures which will all ensure we keep our residents in Care Home and Retirement Village and our people safe.

The Care Home generated meal service to Retirement Villages actually service only about 20% of Retirement Village residents. 80% of Retirement Village residents are independent with their living and cooking needs.

We thank you for your understanding at this time.

 

 

25 March – Bupa dental practices in New Zealand
Bupa dental practices across New Zealand are closed until further notice, in line with the Government’s Alert Level 4. If you have an urgent enquiry, please contact your local practice using this finder tool. We hope you and your loved ones stay well.

 

 

24 March - Information sent to retirement village residents 

With the latest Government announcement of increased alert levels for New Zealand,we strongly advise that you stay in your home over this period. Our priority is the safety,health and wellbeing of you, your whanau and all our Bupa people working at your retirement village.Please find below further instructions that come into effect immediately due to the new alert level.

Care home access

As you can appreciate, we must take care of our most vulnerable residents in our care homes and villages. Older people are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 and we want to keep all our care home residents as safe as we possibly can. We will be keeping the exterior doors to the care homes closed and there are to be no visitors in the care homes. Any internal doors between care homes and villages will be closed.

Communal areas

All common areas are no longer available until further notice including communal cooking facilities.

Personal protective equipment

If a care home nurse is required to visit a resident, this will still be permitted. However, as a precaution they will be wearing personal protective equipment when they enter the village.

Wellness clinics

Our wellness clinics will be closed until further notice.

Community centres

Our community centres will be locked where they can be and are not available until further notice.

Please remember the Prime Minister’s messages of physical distancing and washing hands. It’s also a timely reminder that we need to keep up social contact in other ways such as perhaps a phone call to your neighbours in another village unit. Your Village Manager will also be checking on your wellbeing on a regular basis.

Thank you once again for your support and cooperation during these unprecedented times and please do speak to your village manager if you have any queries or concerns.

 

 

23 March - Information sent to families of care home residents 

Last week we put restrictions on visits to Bupa care homes, to minimise the number and length of visits. We want to do everything we can to prevent the risk of infection in our care homes, to protect our residents and employees.

Starting Tuesday 24 March, there will be no external visits allowed to our Bupa care homes.

This is following the Government’s announcement today that we are now at COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and will be moving to Alert Level 4 in 48 hours. As the number of COVID-19 infections in New Zealand continues to rise, every person entering a care home poses a greater risk of carrying the virus.

The only exception will be for families of those residents nearing end of life, with entry being at the discretion of the Care Home Manager. Those visitors will be required to:

  • Llimit of two visitors per resident at a time
  • Wear personal protection equipment while moving through public areas, e.g. a mask and gloves
  • Follow strict hygiene protocols
  • Stay in the resident’s room during visits.

In this instance, we ask that you please contact the care home first to set up your visit before coming to the home.

Our employees and other essential health workers who work at the care home continue to comply with stringent health disclosure rules and respiratory etiquette to protect against the risk of infection.

Our wonderful team members are committed to caring for our residents through this time, as aged care facilities are essential services that will continue to operate while many other workplaces are closed.

We know that stopping visits will be difficult for you and your loved ones so will be working with our teams to implement other ways that you can keep in contact, including:

  • Phone calls
  • Video calls
  • Social media

While we will be supplying extra devices to our homes, we are also encouraging relatives to bring in personal devices – which can be picked up by the receptionist at the front door.

We appreciate your understanding about this change, and we will continue to communicate with you about your loved one and the steps we are taking to keep them safe. 

 

 

20 March - Information sent to care home residents and their families 

Our absolute priority is the health safety and wellbeing of our residents, their families and our people.

In response to recently tightened Government regulations around coronavirus (COVID-19) we have decided to increase restrictions for visitors into our care homes effective Friday 20 March.

There will be door notices displayed which outline the new visiting requirements but we also wanted to email you personally about this.

We need your help in maintaining our infection prevention control measures and this involves limiting visiting hours and contact.

We realise this may be distressing for you however please know that we are acting with the best interests of your loved one in mind. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) and we want to keep all our residents as safe as we possibly can.

We are reviewing our response each day to make sure we are keeping everyone protected, and we have comprehensive plans in place in the event we get any confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please see below for all current and new restrictions which we ask are strictly adhered to:

Visitor entry denied if:

  • Experiencing flu-like symptoms (such as fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath); or
  • Arrived from any place overseas in the last 14 days, or
  • Had close or casual contact – living in the same home or household-like setting, face-to-face contact (within two metres of the case) or been within 2 metres of a case in a closed environment (e.g. classroom or hospital waiting room) or seated within two rows in any direction of a case on a flight) – with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19, or
  • Had close contact with someone being tested for COVID-19.

Other visitor restrictions:

  • Visits will only take place between 11am - 1pm and 5pm - 7pm - every day.
  • Except for the main door, all other doors will be locked at all times. Access to the Care home is only through the main door.
  • Children (under 18 years) will not be able to visit. This is because children may carry a range of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, while showing no or minimal symptoms.
  • There will be a limit of one visitor per resident at a time, for a maximum of 30 minutes.
  • We recommend that each resident has no more than two visitors per day.
  • Visits need to be conducted in your relative’s room or outdoors, not in communal areas.
  • Visitors must limit their interactions with other residents and maintain safe physical distance of 2 metres, or if you are closer than 1 metre, be in that proximity for less than 15 minutes.
  • With individual cases we will apply compassion and end of life discretion to enable visits to your loved one.

Changes to group activities to keep our residents safe:

  • There will be no large group visits or external activities – e.g. entertainers and van outings.
  • Internal activities are at the discretion of the manager and activities team.
  • Physiotherapists and hairdressers are still permitted on a one-to-one basis.

Retirement Villages:

  • Access from Retirement Villages to Care Homes is only through the main door.
  • Retirement Village residents visiting the Care Home are also be required to sign a Visitor Health Declaration Form.

These are the measure we have put in place for our Care Homes across New Zealand. They will be reviewed regularly based on the external environment and increased as required.

Thank you for your cooperation and continued support and please do speak to your Care Home manager if you have any queries or concerns.

 

 

19 March 2020 - Information sent to care home residents and their families

Our absolute priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents and their families, and our people who care for them.

We are monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak here and globally very closely and share the public concern about this evolving issue.

The situation is developing rapidly and changing daily. Our efforts are focused on managing the impact on our residents, our people, and our ability to continue to provide high quality care and services at all our care homes, villages and rehabilitation sites.

As a trusted healthcare provider, we are taking all precautionary measures possible under the advisement of the Ministry of Health and continue to update our response as the COVID-19 situation evolves here in New Zealand.

We are taking every necessary step to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) infection among our residents, clients and people in our aged care homes, villages, rehabilitation facilities and support offices.

Across our 48 aged care homes, 34 villages and 7 rehabilitation facilities, we have further strengthened our existing infection prevention control measures and have put in place additional precautionary measures. These include:

  • Ensuring we have enough essential equipment available if needed, hygiene reminders and ensuring all our frontline teams participate in infection control refresher training.
  • We’ve also introduced a health declaration sign-in for all visitors to our sites. This must be completed each time the visitor enters. It clearly outlines and asks for their confirmation that the visitor’s entry will not pose a risk to our people.
  • In line with the latest Ministry of Health information, it lists the criteria under which visits should not proceed. Visitors and employees won’t be able to come into our care homes, villages or rehabilitation sites if they:
  • Are experiencing flu-like symptoms (such as fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath); or
  • Have arrived from any place overseas, including Category 2 countries & regions, in the last 14 days; or
  • Had close or casual contact – living in the same home or household-like setting, face-to-face contact (within two metres of the case) or been within 2 metres of a case in a closed environment (e.g. classroom or hospital waiting room) or seated within two rows in any direction of a case on a flight) – with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19; or
  • Had close contact with someone being tested for COVID-19.
  • In addition, visitors are requested and reminded to use hand sanitiser upon entering and practice thorough hand washing.

Please be aware we will update our visitor access criteria based on the very latest Ministry of Health Advice specifically for the aged care sector.

This is subject to frequent and rapid change due to the evolving COVID-19 situation in New Zealand. For the latest information please visit covid19.govt.nz

 

 

18 March 2020

At Bupa we are committed to taking action to help protect the wellbeing of our residents, clients and staff by minimising potential exposure to COVID-19. We have been monitoring the evolving situation closely and want to assure you we have strong infection prevention control measures in place and are following the Ministry of Health advice and guidelines.

Visitors and employees won’t be able to come into our care homes, retirement villages or rehabilitation sites if they:

  • Have had contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or believe they may have come into contact with someone who is at risk of developing COVID-19
  • Have returned to New Zealand from any country overseas since 1am 16 March 2020, as they are required to be in mandatory self-isolation for 14 days
  • Are feeling unwell with any flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat.

Visitors are reminded to use hand sanitiser upon entering and practice thorough hand washing.

Please contact the manager or reception if you wish to discuss this.