Blakeney Lodge in lockdown

Tumut’s Blakeney Lodge has been placed in virtual lockdown, with only compassionate visits and medical visits allowed.

Bupa has also introduced strict new regulations.

Strict hygiene protocols have been put in place at Blakeney Lodge, a spokesperson said.

Those intending to visit their family member on compassionate grounds have been asked to phone ahead.

GP and essential medical visits will continue but with strict hygiene protocols followed.

“We are very mindful of the potential impact on resident well-being and families,” a spokesperson said.

“To mitigate this, we have put in place additional technology in all Homes to facilitate video calls (via Skype/WhatsApp). In addition, we are adding new activities to our Lifestyle program and our staff will continue to do all they can to ensure that life in our Homes remains as sociable and engaging as possible.”

Bupa Villages and Aged Care Managing Director, Suzanne Dvorak said restrictions had been introduced to restrict visits to its care homes.

Effective immediately, Bupa is introducing limits on all visits. This means:

• Visits will only take place from 2pm – 5pm each day (including weekends).

• Visitors will be required to wear gloves and mask (provided by the care home).

• All visits should be pre-booked by ringing ahead to the care home. Contact details for all our care homes are at www.bupaagedcare.com.au

• Visitors will be greeted on entry by a staff member who will help with putting on the gloves and masks. They will also explain how to safely wear the protection equipment.

• A limit of one visitor per resident per day, for a maximum of 30 minutes. This is to ensure effective use of protective masks.

• Visits must take place within the resident’s room, not in communal areas.

• All visitors should limit interactions with other residents and maintain a safe social distance of 1.5 metres.

• Children and young people (under 18 years) will not be able to visit. The reason is that children may carry a range of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, while showing no or minimal symptoms.

• Bupa has introduced temperature checks for people entering our care homes, to ensure people with a fever do not enter.

“These measures are in addition to the previous requirements for visiting our care homes,” Ms Dvorak said.

“We’re asking everyone to consider whether their visit is essential and postpone it if possible. Minimising the number of visitors is the best way to reduce the risk of infection.

“There will be compassionate exceptions for visits to residents, such as for those who are receiving palliative care. Please contact the care home to discuss this.

“We understand these restrictions will be difficult for some, and we will help to arrange phone or video calls for residents to keep in touch with their loved ones.

“We’ve also put a call out to our residents’ family members, encouraging them to have their children or grandchildren record video messages for their relatives in our care homes, which can help our residents feel more connected while there is a limit on visitors.

 “Protecting our residents and employees is our highest priority and we all have a role to play in this.”

For the latest information regarding COVID-19 including advice on actions to help prevent the spread of the virus, please visit the Department of Health website: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert.