Date: 4 March 2020

Please note that we will continue to update this page, so please keep checking back in for updates and check the latest advice from government authorities.

NEW update 27 March 2020:

An important COVID-19 video message from Whiddon’s CEO

Update 25 March 2020:

We have important new information about entry point restrictions at our Easton Park campus. Click here to read more.

Update 20 March 2020:

Important update:

We thank you for your understanding today as we implemented a two-week period that sees increased restrictions on all people visiting our residential age care homes. This means that during this period, there will be no visitors to our home, unless there are compassionate circumstances or the visitor is providing an essential service (such as medical or health support).

The safety of our residents and our employees is our highest priority and we genuinely feel that this is the best decision for the health and safety of our residents and employees.

We look forward to sharing more about how we will be enhancing leisure activities at our homes. We are also looking at ways to keep our residents connected to their loved ones with the use of technology.

Please note that our Customer Service Centre will be open this weekend between 9am and 4pm each day to help with enquiries. You can contact them on 1300 738 388.

Update 19 March 2020:

Important update:

As of 8am on Friday 20 March, Whiddon will introduce a two-week period that will see increased restrictions on all people visiting our residential age care homes. This means that during this period, there will be no visitors to our home, unless there are compassionate circumstances or the visitor is providing an essential service (such as medical or health support). The safety of our residents and our employees is our highest priority and this has not been a decision that we have made lightly.

As indicated in the Prime Minister’s press conference on Wednesday, 18 March, we have the discretion to take additional precautionary measures that we see as necessary to minimise the risk of exposure to our residents and employees. The decision to introduce this additional precaution was made in consultation with our management teams and based on feedback from health service experts. We genuinely feel this is the best decision for the health and safety of our residents and our employees.

While we have taken many precautions to date, this additional measure will allow us to continue to assess and respond to the emerging situation operationally. It will also allow us to build on the measures that focus on infection control, so we can do our best to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in our residential care homes.

During this period, we will also be enhancing leisure activities at our homes and looking at ways to keep our residents connected to their loved ones with the use of technology.

If there are compassionate circumstances, families should speak to the home’s Care Manager where requests will be assessed on a case by case basis. There will still be special conditions to such visits which we must adhere to, including a maximum amount of visits per day, two visitors at a time and practicing of social distancing measures.

We thank everyone for their understanding and compliance with these new measures as we continue to do our best to keep the people we care for safe and well.

Update 16 March 2020:

Important update:

As of midnight on 15 March 2020, a new travel measure came into effect. All travellers returning or arriving from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days. For more information click here.

This updates our restrictions around visiting our homes, services and workplaces. Please do not visit:

  • If you are unwell
  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • If you have come into contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • If you have, or are, returning or arriving from overseas to Australia as of midnight 15 March. You must self-isolate for 14 days
  • If before midnight 15 March, you have travelled to, or transited through, high alert countries including mainland China, Iran, Italy, South Korea in the 14 days prior
  • If before midnight 15 March, you have travelled to, or transited through Japan, Mongolia and other countries of interest in the 14 days prior and have any symptoms

 

Update 13 March 2020:

Important information on visiting our homes and services:

Elderly people are vulnerable and at a higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19 and residential aged care facilities have been advised to have appropriate precautions in place to ensure residents continue to remain safe from Coronavirus.

We ask that anyone planning to visit one of our aged care homes, services or workplaces, please do so with caution and be aware of the following restrictions in place.
Please do not visit:

  • If you are unwell
  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • If you have come into contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • If you have travelled to, or transited through, high alert countries including mainland China, Iran, Italy, South Korea.
  • If you have travelled to, or transited through Japan, Mongolia and other countries of interest and have any symptoms

It is essential that you follow advice and any isolation requirements if you are at risk from any of the above and seek medical advice.

If you have visited one of our homes or services in the last fortnight and you feel that you meet any of the above exclusion criteria please advise the home or service as soon as possible.

For further information, or if you have a concern, please call our team on 1300 738 388 Monday – Friday, 8.30am-6pm.

You can also contact the 24/7 national hotline on 1800 020 080.

 

Update 10 March 2020:

Please find a number of letters below with important information. It is also important to keep checking

Letter to Whiddon residents, families and visitors
Letter to Whiddon Community Care clients
Letter to Whiddon Retirement Village residents
Letter to Whiddon stakeholders

It is important to check for the latest updates and information. There are FAQs and information at the pages below:

www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx

 

5 March 2020:

At Whiddon, we are committed to ensuring our residents, volunteers, families, team members and visitors live, work and visit an environment that is safe and places their interest first. In light of the current Coronavirus situation, we are listening to the experts and taking important actions to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

Our teams are always prepared for the flu season and understand the principles of
universal infection control precautions. For years we have worked with a specialist
organisation who has guided our teams and provided us with important resources in the
management and prevention of outbreaks.

We will continue to work with the Department of Health and are well placed to respond to, and manage, any viral outbreaks in our homes. The information below is very important and we ask you to take the time to read it through. As a community, there are steps that we can all take together to control the spread of Coronavirus.

Important information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans and scientists are still learning about how it is spread, its severity and other characteristics of the virus.

As the number of cases around the world continues to climb, it is important to monitor and follow advice from the Australian Government, NSW Health, QLD Health and the World Health Organisation, and take steps to control the spread of the virus.

Elderly people are vulnerable and at a higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19 and
residential aged care facilities have been advised to have appropriate precautions in place to ensure residents continue to remain safe from coronavirus.

As a family member or visitor, it is important that you check the latest advice being issued by government authorities before you plan to visit an aged care home. These can be found at the following web sites:

www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx

There are certain restrictions and advice in place for people who have travelled to high-risk countries or who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Please check these restrictions to see if any apply to you. Please note that these may be updated at any time, so it is important that you check the latest advice.

We ask that you help us to keep our residents, families, employees and visitors safe by taking steps such as regularly washing your hands, avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms and not visiting any aged care home if you are unwell.

As the flu season is just around the corner, we encourage you to speak with your GP early about getting a flu vaccination to protect you and your loved ones, and to continue to take precautions to control the spread of viruses.

Who is at most at risk for COVID-19?
The people most at risk of getting the virus are those who have:
• Recently been in mainland China or Iran (you must self-isolate for 14 days)
• Italy or South Korea (families, any visitors and employees who have visited here, or
transited through, will not be able to visit our homes for at least 14 days from the day
of arrival back in Australia.
• Japan, Mongolia and other countries of interest, you should monitor your health for
symptoms and visit your GP immediately if you develop symptoms.
• Been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of the Coronavirus

It is essential that you follow advice and any isolation requirements if you are at risk from any of the above.

Steps you can take to help limit the spread
• Make sure you clean your hands with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub for
at least 20 seconds
• Keep away from other people and cover your nose and mouth when coughing and
sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow
• Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
• Stay home if you are sick

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People with COVID-19 may have a fever, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath and other symptoms. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress. As always if you are unwell and concerned about your health please seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Please be advised that this communication is not meant to be alarmist, rather we just want to ensure that we are taking the best preventative steps to protect all those connected with our homes and services.