Further to our last update on Monday 9th March we are writing to keep you up-to-date with the actions Five Good Friends is taking in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- Our Coronavirus Response Team is communicating daily and monitoring the situation. Updates and advice from the Department of Health and peak bodies is being shared and distributed across the organisation.
- We are communicating regularly with Helpers and Five Good Friends staff who provide services to our Members. This includes providing directives on safe working practices and the sharing of advice from the Department of Health and peak bodies.
- We have continued to urge and strongly encourage reporting by anyone who:
- Has recently returned from areas of high and moderate risk. Even if they are well. In a recent update from the Department of Health, all countries are now considered to be a moderate risk. All travellers entering the country must now self isolate for fourteen (14) days.
- Has been in contact with someone who has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. Even if they are well.
- Is showing signs of COVID-19 infection (cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose).
- We have developed a register for people who have reported any of the above. We are making welfare calls and ensuring we are kept up to date with their situation. To date we have not had a Member, Helper or Five Good Friends employee report a positive test for COVID-19.
- LOOKOUT, our remote care monitoring technology continues to analyse Helper notes left upon checkout of visits for early signs of changes in our Members health and wellbeing. Our Care Managers are remaining vigilant in responding to any alerts raised by LOOKOUT.
- To ensure we are prepared and as a test of our systems and processes we have directed all staff in our head office to work from home from March 16th to March 20th. As a modern, technology enabled care provider we are in a strong position to manage and run the organisation with a remote team. We have had these systems and processes in place since we launched 4 years ago.
- We are continuing to do our best to secure Personal and Protective Equipment (masks, gloves, aprons etc). As has been reported these items are in high demand.
The Commonwealth Department of Health is now recommending social distancing. This is a way to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. It means less contact between you and other people. Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:
- direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
- close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
- touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough
- sneezes from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
So, the more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
For more information please review this fact sheet on social distancing prepared by the Commonwealth Department of Health.
Keep Five Good Friends informed
If you have been in contact with someone returning from overseas or a person who has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 please monitor your health. If you develop signs of COVID-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose) seek medical advice urgently and isolate yourself. Please also contact our Member Services Team on 1300 787 581 Option 1
Changes to visits.
In our communications with Five Good Friends Helpers we are encouraging them to take all precautions including cancelling visits if they are concerned about their health or if they fall into any of the Department of Health isolation and risk categories. If a visit is changed at short notice as result of such precautions we would be grateful for your understanding. Our Care Teams are will work extremely hard and diligently to manage any potential missed visits.
A final and important thought
Last week our COO Nathan Betteridge and CEO Simon Lockyer met with the Federal Minister for Aged Care. In his remarks he made the point that it is critical we keep people who work in the aged and disability care industries working, so we can look after our loved ones through this time. We are committed to this idea. We want to make sure we are able to operate and serve the Members we help and support as best we can, while ensuring we do our best to keep people, safe and healthy.
Head of Quality and Programmes