Protecting our residents and our people in aged care
Response to ABC’s program on visitation restrictions in aged care homes during COVID-19 from Suzanne Dvorak, Managing Director Aged Care Australia, Bupa.
I am thankful to the many families who have supported the action we have taken to keep our residents and our people safe in our aged care homes. It’s a ray of light for our hardworking team to know that families understand. Thank you for your thoughtful and caring feedback. That is why it was disheartening to see criticism of the restrictions to visits in aged care homes on the ABC on Thursday.
The decision to close our homes to visitors was an extremely difficult one, but our absolute priority is to protect people. I also know that it was the right move. As has been demonstrated around the world, tough decisions to contain the virus are Australia’s best defence in saving lives. We need to take firm measures to keep the virus out of our homes and protect the lives of residents and staff. I make no apologies for this.
I also wanted to reinforce that exceptions will always be made on compassionate grounds, such as for those who are receiving palliative care. We are here to support you at an exceptionally difficult time.
For those who can’t visit, I know that it is very difficult not to have daily, physical contact with your loved ones. We’re using technology to help bridge the gap. Skype calls, video chats, video messages and regular phone calls have been set up throughout our homes. It’s been wonderful to hear of the great interactions that our residents have been having with their family members during this time by using technology to its fullest.
Our residents have also been receiving beautiful letters and artwork from members of the community through our Visits by Mail program, to help keep residents connected and put smiles on their faces. We are also establishing private Facebook Groups for each of our 72 care homes, so that our teams can share more of the daily activities in which our residents are participating, and family members can take part in group discussions, sharing their ideas and their feedback. We will be sharing more on this with our resident’s families soon.
Finally, let me assure you that residents still move freely around their homes and are regularly accompanied outdoors. We know this is absolutely fundamental to a happy life. In fact, one of the reasons we adopted these tighter restrictions was so we could ensure that our residents could continue to enjoy this freedom of movement.
We know these are not perfect solutions, but this is not a perfect time. It is requiring significant adjustments and sacrifices from everyone. I thank our residents, their families and our amazing team for everything they are doing to make the best of things during this time.
I’d be happy to hear your thoughts and any ideas you have by emailing here.