The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the rules for families and friends with loved ones in residential aged care. At Castlemaine Health, visitor restrictions were quickly introduced to protect residents and the frontline staff who care for them. Those decisions were made, and are still being made, in response to the threat that COVID-19 presents to our community and those most vulnerable.
The restrictions have successfully maintained our residents’ health and wellbeing. There have been no cases of COVID-19 nor any cases of respiratory illness. This outcome is a credit to the patience and support of residents and families, and the professionalism of staff.
But with no new positive COVID-19 in the Mount Alexander Shire at the time of writing, Castlemaine Health plans to gradually open up residential aged care to visitors from Monday, 4 May.
CEO Ian Fisher said: “Throughout the pandemic we’ve been balancing our obligation to protect residents with the need to ensure the measures are reasonable and proportionate. We’re had a lot of support from residents, families and the community, and we’re incredibly grateful for that. I hope welcoming visitors in again will makes it a little easier for everyone to get the love and support that is so important right now.”
Visiting will be opened up gradually to ensure the protections achieved to date are maintained. Restrictions will remain in place around visits.
Flu vaccinations – new Federal Government requirement
Importantly, the Federal Government has recently introduced a new requirement that all visitors to aged care must have an up-to-date flu vaccination from 1 May. In line with those requirements, visitors to Castlemaine Health residential aged care will need to produce appropriate evidence of their immunisation. Once that evidence if recorded in our records, you won’t need to bring it with you next time you visit.
Appropriate evidence includes:
- certificate printed from the Australian Immunisation Register available through your GP or through the MyGov portal (link Medicare, then access your immunisation record via the Medicare service)
- letter from your GP stating the type of vaccine, batch number and date of administration
- print out from your GP of your immunisations with doctor’s name and clinic name included on the page
- certificate produced by the pharmacy that administered your immunisation.
In line with Government advice, neither statutory declarations nor photos of vaccinations can be accepted as evidence. More information about the flu vaccination requirements are available on the Department of Health website at www.health.gov.au.
Flu vaccinations are available from GP clinics and pharmacies in the Mount Alexander Shire.