Bupa Edithvale COVID-19 outbreak closed
General Manager Lexie Dennis reflects on how the community supported their home through the COVID-19 outbreak, and looks to what’s next.
UPDATE Friday 2 October 11:00am
No Bupa Edithvale team members or residents have tested positive to COVID-19 for well over a month. There are currently no active cases within the care home.
The COVID-19 outbreak at Bupa Edithvale has been officially closed since Thursday 17 September.
UPDATE Thursday 24 September 4:00pm
After two months of tireless work and dedication from employees at Bupa Edithvale, the COVID-19 outbreak is now officially closed.
Lexie Dennis, General Manager Bupa Edithvale, reflected on how the home has come out the other side of the outbreak.
“This is like nothing we’ve ever seen before in aged care. You can’t underestimate the importance of being prepared when you face into something like this. We’ve been lucky to have the broader support of other departments and medical experts within Bupa, as well as the state and federal departments, and the Frankston and Rosebud hospitals. It’s really something you can’t manage alone,” Lexie said.
While the outbreak has been tough on residents and their loved ones, Lexie was impressed by the resilience and strength residents showed throughout the process.
“Our residents have been through so much in their lifetimes, that when it came to COVID-19, they really took it in their stride. It was obviously disruptive and they needed more support from staff than during regular times, but on the whole, they adapted really well.
“I have a great team who has been able to meet the needs of our residents and support them throughout. Other staff who came into our home to help during the outbreak all stepped up and took on our work ethic to make sure we kept the level of care high for our residents,” Lexie added.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the care home has had to find new ways to keep residents connected with their families and friends.
While it was unusual to residents at first, video calls are now a regular part of their days and something that Lexie thinks will stick around long after COVID restrictions are lifted.
“It’s not always easy for families who live far away to come in and visit their loved one, but now residents are used to seeing them on the screen, I think it will make it easier for them to stay in touch no matter where they live.
“We also set up a Facebook group earlier in the year where we share pictures and videos from the home for relatives to see. It’s been a great way to keep relatives updated quickly and show them all the fun activities we’ve still been able to run in the home during the lockdown,” Lexie said.
While the outbreak has been a mammoth challenge, Lexie believes the whole experience has brought the Bupa Edithvale community together more than ever before.
“We’ve all been through this same trauma and I think it’s brought us closer together. Our team is really focused on being there for our residents and each other. We’ve mourned for those we’ve lost, but there’s also a common feeling that we’ve made it through this together.
“We’ve also built a closer relationship with relatives and the broader Edithvale community. Their support has been amazing. We’ve received care packages that are dropped off with a note simply signed from ‘the Edithvale community’ to let us know they’re thinking of us.”
Now, as the home returns to a sense of normality, they turn their minds to acknowledging and respecting the events they have been through. Lexie hopes to commission a piece of art or sculpture from a local artist to commemorate the residents who have passed away and the effects the outbreak has had on the home.
“From the bottom of our hearts, I just want to thank everyone near and far who have supported us in any form along the way. We couldn’t have done this alone. To have family support, resident support and the support of the wider Bupa community has been the key to us getting through this,” Lexie added.
UPDATE Friday 4 September 3:00pm
Bupa Edithvale received welcome news from the Department of Health yesterday, advising that the care home has now been de-escalated to the ‘active surveillance’ stage.
This means residents can now move more freely around the home and take part in group recreational activities.
The team continues to monitor residents’ health closely and remains diligent in their use of personal protective equipment.
We thank our employees, residents and their loved ones for their unwavering support and patience throughout the outbreak.
UPDATE Friday 21 August 2:00pm
Since our last update, unfortunately a further five residents and four employees have tested positive to COVID-19.
We are in close contact with our residents’ loved ones to keep them updated on the situation, and we continue to work closely with health authorities.
While it continues to be an extremely challenging time at the care home, we are grateful to our team, residents and their relatives for their ongoing patience and support as we do everything possible to fight this virus.
UPDATE Wednesday 12 August 11:00am:
Our latest test results have shown that unfortunately ten more residents and two more employees from our Edithvale aged care home have tested positive to COVID-19.
We continue to work closely with health authorities from both the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to manage the situation.
We again thank our dedicated employees, our residents and their families, and the Edithvale community for their support and understanding.
UPDATE Sunday 9 August 10:00am:
We have received the sad news that four more of our team have tested positive to COVID-19. They are isolated away from the care home in their family homes, and we are supporting them in their recovery.
We thank the relatives of our residents who have been supportive towards our efforts, and to both the Commonwealth Department of Health and the Victorian Public Health Unit who have been working constructively with us during this difficult time.
UPDATE August 7 6:00pm:
Following additional testing, we have received results that show a further five residents have tested positive to COVID-19. Two more of our team members have also tested positive to COVID-19.
Several residents are being cared for within the home’s own dedicated COVID-19 Care Unit, while other residents are being treated in hospital. Affected staff have entered self-isolation and we are keeping in close contact with them to ensure they’re properly supported.
We have now set up five separate zones within the home that are completely isolated from each other. Staff assigned to each of these zones include a registered nurse, personal carers and a cleaner.
The Commonwealth Department of Health and the Victorian DHHS are supportive of our measures.
We thank our staff for their dedicated efforts, and our residents, their families, and the Edithvale community for their messages of support during this most difficult period.
UPDATE Friday 7 August 3:30pm:
In addition to our daily communications with relatives, Suzanne Dvorak, Managing Director Bupa Aged Care Australia, held a teleconference with the relatives of Bupa Edithvale residents earlier this week and followed up with a letter today. Read her letter below:
Dear Relatives and Friends,
It has been a difficult few weeks for those that call Bupa Edithvale home. I acknowledge how tough it has been for our residents, for our team and for you, the relatives and friends who support our residents and team every day.
Notwithstanding our best efforts, the dreaded coronavirus has inserted itself in our care home. We have been working closely with both the Commonwealth and the Victorian government health departments, as we are in this battle together to eliminate this virus from our home and minimise its impact as best we can.
Despite these efforts, we have sadly lost three of our much-loved residents since the coronavirus entered our home. These residents were transferred to hospital prior to their passing, and they were COVID-19 positive. While we believe their pre-existing or unrelated conditions most likely contributed to their passing, we don’t look past the sadness of their passing at this time.
Our thoughts go out to all of their families during this very difficult time. We have contacted their loved ones to send our condolences and will stay in contact with them to provide any assistance they may need.
As many of you would know, following the communications that we have sent and the teleconference that we held on Monday 3 August, the situation is currently quite serious in our home. We are doing everything we can to protect your loved ones and ensure that they are safe. You have my personal guarantee that we will not stop working to protect your loved ones and our team. This is a battle that we are determined to win.
I thank you for trusting us to care for your loved ones. We take this responsibility very seriously.
Bupa Aged Care
UPDATE Thursday 6 August 10:00am:
We are sad to confirm that following the receipt of the latest results, unfortunately a further five residents and four staff members at Bupa Edithvale have tested positive to COVID-19.
Affected residents are being cared for either in hospital or in the home’s dedicated COVID Care Unit, away from other residents. The conditions of all residents in the home are being closely monitored by care staff.
Residents who are currently COVID-19 negative were tested again yesterday, and there will be more testing in the home today for staff.
Employees who test positive immediately enter self-isolation and we are in regular contact with all impacted employees to offer our support. Employees who receive positive test results will not return to the home for at least two weeks.
Communities within the home have been physically separated from one another as part of our Outbreak Management Plan and residents are undergoing clinical observations twice daily.
Staff members are wearing PPE at all times during their shifts, as they have been for several weeks, including gowns when administering close care to residents. All staff are temperature screened on arrival at the home, and deep cleaning of all hard surfaces has been arranged, along with increased frequency of cleaning shifts.
The team members at Bupa Edithvale have been working tirelessly to care for their residents under extremely difficult circumstances. We are proud of the way they have embraced the challenge and the care and dedication they show to our residents and to each other.
While all our Victorian care homes have been temporarily closed to visitors since Wednesday 8 July, Bupa is ensuring residents can continue to communicate with their loved ones through virtual means.
We’re in regular contact with relatives of our residents to keep them informed and we thank them for their ongoing support and good wishes.
UPDATE Monday 3 August 10.00am:
Since our most recent update, we have received further test results and unfortunately a further ten residents and three employees from our Edithvale home have tested positive.
Most of these residents have been taken to hospital, with some remaining in the home in our dedicated COVID-19 Care Unit, well separated from all other residents.
We are in continual contact with our residents’ families and their GPs to ensure they are involved in any decisions about their care.
Any employees who test positive immediately enter self-isolation and will not return to the home for at least two weeks, and once a series of negative test results have been received. We remain in close contact with these team members to ensure they’re properly supported.
We are still waiting on some test results and will update our relatives accordingly.
We thank our dedicated employees, our residents and their families, and the Edithvale community for their support and understanding.
UPDATE Monday 27 July, 12pm:
We have now received all the second round COVID-19 test results at Bupa Edithvale and can confirm that unfortunately a further six residents and three employees have tested positive.
We are in contact with the residents’ families and their GPs to ensure they are involved in any decisions about their care. As a result of these discussions, all COVID-19 positive residents are being transferred to hospital.
Two of the employees who tested positive have been self-isolating since Monday 20 July and we are in contact with all impacted employees to offer our support. Employees who receive positive test results will not return to the home for at least two weeks.
People can often test negative to COVID-19 in the very early stages of infection, which is why this second round of testing has been so important to pick up these additional cases. We expect a third round of testing will be organised shortly, as per the Public Health Unit’s process.
UPDATE Wednesday 22 July, 11am
We have now received test results for all Edithvale residents. Unfortunately, a further two residents have tested positive to COVID-19.
The two residents remain in our care at the home. We are in close contact with their families and GP to ensure they are receiving the right level of care.
The resident who tested positive on Monday remains in hospital.
We have received the majority of employee test results, and so far, they are all negative.
A second round of testing for residents and employees will occur later this week.
We’re in regular contact with all relatives of the home and we thank them for their ongoing support and well wishes.
UPDATE Tuesday 21 July, 1:00pm
We are saddened to update that a resident at Bupa Edithvale has tested positive to COVID-19.
They began to display symptoms on Sunday morning and were transferred to hospital where they were tested and received their positive result the next day.
We are offering our support to the resident and their close friends within our care at Bupa Edithvale.
We have now received most resident and employee test results and are pleased that all others received so far are negative. We are still waiting on some test results for residents and employees. We continue to monitor the health of our residents closely.
The two team members who previously tested positive continue to self-isolate, and will not return to work for at least three weeks from the date of their positive tests, and on further advice from the public health unit.
This is an extremely difficult situation for the resident, their family and friends. We appreciate everyone respecting their privacy during this time.
UPDATE Sunday 19 July
Three team members at Bupa Edithvale and Sunshine care homes record positive COVID-19 tests
One contractor and one employee at Bupa’s Edithvale (VIC) aged care home, and one employee at Bupa Sunshine (VIC) care home have recorded positive COVID-19 tests.
- The Edithvale contractor’s last shift was on Thursday 16 July. They were not showing symptoms at the beginning of their shift, but developed a temperature and left early to get tested. It is not known where they contracted the virus from.
- The Edithvale employee had not worked at the care home for over a week when they received their positive test on Saturday 18 July. They were tested as a close contact of a positive case not connected to our care home, and have not displayed any symptoms. At this stage, we do not believe these two cases in Edithvale are connected.
- The Sunshine employee last worked at the home on Sunday 12 July and they did not have any symptoms at the time. Other members of their household were informed on Tuesday 14 July that they’d tested positive, and the Bupa staff member was notified of their positive result late on Wednesday 15 July.
Bupa continues to maintain contact with the three team members to offer support. All are now in self-isolation.
Bupa’s Outbreak Management Plan:
Bupa immediately activated its COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plan at both homes and is working closely with the Department of Health & Human Services to minimise the risk of other potential infections in the homes.
All residents at Bupa Sunshine have returned negative tests. We are awaiting some staff test results.
All staff and residents at Edithvale will undergo COVID-19 testing today, Sunday 19 July.
We continue to closely monitor the health of all residents and staff at both homes.
Communities within each home have been physically isolated from one another as per our Outbreak Management Plan and residents are undergoing clinical observations twice daily.
Staff are wearing PPE at all times during their shifts, as they have been for several weeks, including gowns when administering close care to residents. All staff are temperature screened on arrival at the home, and deep cleaning of all hard surfaces has been arranged, along with increased frequency of cleaning shifts.
Staying in touch with residents’ loved ones
We are in regular contact with the relatives of both homes to keep them informed and to offer support.
While all our Victorian care homes have been temporarily closed to visitors since Wednesday 8 July, Bupa will ensure residents can continue to communicate with their loved ones through virtual means.
We thank our employees, residents and their families community for their support and understanding during this challenging time.
For more information on Bupa Sunshine, click here.
For more information on COVID-19 and Bupa Aged Care, click here.