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Message from the CEO on the Coronavirus

News
March 13, 2020

Presbyterian Aged Care (PAC) is taking the threat posed by the Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) very seriously. We are writing to update PAC consumers, residents and their representatives on the current work PAC is doing to protect you from Coronavirus, and the plans we have in place should a consumer or staff member become infected.

As you are aware, the global Coronavirus outbreak is an evolving situation with more cases coming to light both in Australia and globally daily. The World Health Organization has now declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. PAC recognises the importance of putting in place active measures to ensure that the risk to consumers of contracting or transmitting the virus in our residential care homes, independent living or home care settings is carefully managed. We will continue to prepare for Coronavirus as well as the upcoming influenza season.

PAC has established a COVID-19 Pandemic plan ready to be implemented should the virus infect any of our consumers in residential care, independent living or home care. We have briefed all managers on what to do and how to act quickly should this occur, to protect our residents and consumers and contain any outbreak. In a residential care context, this may include isolation of infected residents, movement to different rooms or areas of the building, cancellation of services or group activities and restricting access to residential care homes to outside visitors. These measures will be continually reviewed with a focus on keeping people well and safe and reducing the spread.

PAC has also updated our annual infection control training to include additional information on COVID-19 – all PAC employees are currently undergoing training during the month of March including competencies on hand hygiene. All PAC staff have been offered free flu vaccines. PAC staff will also have access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) should an outbreak occur.

The best form of response is prevention, therefore we will continue to remind everyone of these key practices which can help contain the spread of Coronavirus:

• Vaccinations for the flu – we encourage as many consumers as possible to get their flu vaccinations. Residential care homes will be arranging flu clinics in the coming weeks.
• Practice good hand hygiene – please wash your hands thoroughly and use the hand gel provided.
• If you are feeling unwell isolate yourself and inform PAC staff or contact your GP, Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 (for out of hours support) or emergency services.

The Department of Health is leading Australia’s response and developing recommendations for Aged Care providers and we will continue to work closely with them to implement strong measures to protect our residents and consumers. You can find out more on their website:

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-national-health-plan-resources

Yours sincerely,

Paul Sadler
CEO
13 March 2020