COVID-19 Latest Health Advice
We are working with our entire community to keep those in our care safe during this challenging time. We invite you to watch this video of CEO, Chris Stewart updating staff on Coronavirus COVID-19 and Helping Hand’s response to date.
Helping Hand is taking a proactive approach to ensure the continued care and safety of all residents, clients and staff.
As the situation evolves, plans are in place so that we can continue to provide quality care for people in our residential care homes and for the thousands of people in metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australian who receive home care services. We are also working with staff at all levels of our organisation to ensure they are fully aware of all the preventative measures and have access to the latest information and updates.
Given the extensive media coverage of the coronavirus, Helping Hand recommends the Department of Health (Federal) website, which provides daily updates with medical advice, alerts and official reporting.
If you are not online, you can phone the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. This service runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
We will be regularly posting updates that are specific to Helping Hand on this page. If you have any immediate concerns or questions call us on 1300 653 600. You can read previous updates that we’ve posted by clicking here.
CLICK HERE for social distancing guidelines video from Department of Health
CLICK HERE for good hygiene guidelines video from Department of Health
CLICK HERE for ‘stop the spread’ guidelines video from Department of Health
CLICK HERE for isolation guidelines from the Department of Health
CLICK HERE for the current status from the Department of Health
On Monday 11 May 2020, an Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes During COVID-19 was released. The Code sets out an agreed nation-wide industry approach that balances the need for residents to continue having visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, while minimising the risk of an outbreak in a residential care home. Please click here to read the Code.
Helping Hand was already compliant with the majority of the principles of the Code and where necessary we are making the appropriate amendments to our protocols to ensure full compliance. It also takes into consideration the capacity of our homes to safely manage the care home environment amidst the new regulatory and legal obligations associated with the COVID-19 situation.
From 20 May 2020 new visiting hours and services for all residents, including Memory Support Unit residents are as follows:
- Visiting hours expanded to 10:00am–2:00pm and 6:00pm–8:00pm Monday to Friday and 10:00am–2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday
- Visits will continue to be by appointment and visiting times increased from 30 to 60 minutes
- Bookings for visits to be made during business hours only (9:00am–5:00pm, Monday to Friday)
- Only one visitor, per day, per resident, as nominated by the resident or next of kin, unless there are special circumstances (please refer to note below)
- 15 minute breaks between bookings to allow time to screen incoming visitors (please arrive 15 minutes before your visiting appointment to complete screening)
- Additional cleaning of rooms between 10:00am–3:00pm and 6:00pm–8:00pm for residents who have had visitors
- Hairdressing services to recommence from 20 May 2020
- Pastoral services to recommence from 20 May 2020
- Volunteers will be invited to return to residential care homes in their own time and at their own discretion
- Access to the homes will be via the main entrance (for entry and exit)
- Visitors will be screened on arrival and have their temperature taken
- Social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines remain in place
- Visits to take place in resident’s room or designated outdoor area
- Social and health group activities remain suspended until further notice
- Each home will have its own quota for how many visitors allowed on site
- No one will be permitted to enter a residential care home without proof of 2020 seasonal influenza vaccination (please note this is a legal requirement outside of our authority and exemptions are permitted only in certain defined circumstances)
- Unless in the case of exceptional circumstances, anyone who meets the criteria below will not be permitted to enter any of our residential care homes:
- They are 16 years of age or under
- They have returned to South Australia in the previous 14 days
- They are currently awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test
- They have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is also awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test
At Helping Hand, we understand that a 30 to 60 minute time limit, or the ‘one person per visit’ rule, may be a challenge for some residents and visitors. This is especially the case when the visit also involves providing some level of support, ie mealtimes; or relates to end-of-life or other special circumstances. Residential Services Managers and Executive Managers will work with you to develop a compassionate, workable and balanced solution that supports the resident’s particular needs for care and support and is also fair to other residents and the time they are able to spend with their visitors.
The news in South Australia is extremely encouraging, with no new COVID-19 cases reported for some time. While easing restrictions and reintroducing services can feel like a return to normal, we are asking everyone to remain vigilant and observe all the precautions we have in place and follow all directions from staff.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
A message for all our staff who have travelled interstate and/or overseas
If you have been interstate over the past 7 days or overseas in the last 14 days you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of your return.
If a person you are living with or in close contact with has been travelling interstate or overseas as above, and is not well, you should stay home and contact your GP.
This applies to all staff and volunteers – whether they are displaying any Covid-19 symptoms or not.
For example: If you returned yesterday, you need to self-isolate for a further 13 days. If you returned seven days ago, you need to self-isolate for seven days.
If you returned several days ago, and have gone to work, you need to immediately stop working and self-isolate until it is 14 days since you returned from interstate.
These measures are in place following the announcement by South Australian Premier Steven Marshall that South Australian borders will close effective 4:00pm Tuesday 24 March 2020.
Self-isolation measures for people returning from overseas started on 6 March 2020 relating to several countries and expanded to include all countries.
This will greatly assist us in reducing the risk of spreading the virus, so we thank you for your support.
CLICK HERE for information on isolation
CLICK HERE for details of your obligations as an employee if you are travelling.
It is very important that you contact Helping Hand before returning to work after travel overseas or interstate. Speak to your manager prior to returning to work (including a client’s home).
If you return from overseas travel and fall ill within the first 14 days of your return, you should not report for work, or if at work leave the workplace immediately and report to the hospital for testing. During this period you will be required to access your leave entitlements until such time as you are cleared. We will require confirmation of your clearance. Should you have any issues obtaining a clearance, please contact us.
Please advise your Manager of any forthcoming travel, contact them prior to your return to work and await advice about any action we require you to undertake.
CLICK HERE to read a letter from Senator Richard Colbeck, Minister for Aged Care, to aged care workers.
Helping Hand planning underway
Helping Hand have a comprehensive pandemic plan. We need you to keep up to date by checking your emails and communications for further information as it becomes available. It is important that you understand that the advice from health authorities is changing frequently and quickly as they learn more about the virus.
Personal Protective Equipment
Staff should follow specific advice on personal protective equipment when looking after clients who are confirmed to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19. For more information review the Helping Hand procedures and guidelines available to you on the internal intranet. Further information is available at SA Health’s website
Influenza (Flu) vaccination
As we prepare for the upcoming flu season in conjunction with the current spread of COVID-19, it is crucial now, more than ever, for Helping Hand staff to get their flu vaccine now. We cannot vaccinate ourselves against COVID-19, but we can vaccinate ourselves against the flu. From 1 May 2020, all staff and visitors entering a residential aged care facility must be vaccinated against 2020 seasonal influenza.
There are a number of ways everyone can stay informed on the current global status of COVID-19. Check the dates of what you are reading as information is being regularly updated. Department of Health (Federal) website and SA Health, have daily updates with medical advice, alerts and official reporting as the situation unfolds:
There is also a 24/7 National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
Commonwealth advice has recently been updated to include more countries that are considered to pose a risk of transmission to travellers arriving in Australia.
- High-risk countries: Mainland China, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea
- Moderate risk countries: Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.