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COVID-19


Alzheimer’s WA is taking a proactive and cautious approach to COVID-19 (coronavirus) as our clients and carers may be in the high-risk category for the virus. Our priority is to protect our staff, our clients and their families and our visitors. We also know that what we do now can help stop the spread of the virus.

This is ever evolving and we are constantly monitoring the situation and taking advice from the Department of Health.

What we have done

Alzheimer’s WA has enacted a series of protocols to minimise the risk to our staff and clients. This includes vaccine mandates and restrictions for staff, or someone close to them, who have travelled in the last 14 days, has been potentially exposed to COVID-19 or is unwell. We are also taking extra precaution with clients and their families who have travelled, potentially been exposed or unwell including rescheduling if required. We are also reducing visitors into our premises when possible.

We are still here for Western Australians living with dementia

In this time of uncertainty, our focus is on continuing to support our clients and carers. Our services continue to ensure carers have a break and our clients have the opportunity to receive therapy, clinical support and socialisation.

As a community, while we may be asked to physically distance ourselves, it is critical now, more than ever, we keep socially and emotionally connected and engaged.

Please call us on 1300 66 77 88 to discuss how we can support you and your family.

Look after yourselves

You can reduce your risk by practising good hygiene and physical distancing

Good hygiene

  • covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • disposing of tissues properly
  • washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
  • using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
  • cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
  • if you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people

Physical distancing

  • staying at home when you are unwell
  • avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential
  • keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible
  • minimising physical contact, especially with people at higher risk such as older people and people with existing health conditions

Statement from our CEO

In light of recent developments regarding vaccine mandates and the opening of state and national borders, the Alzheimer’s WA COVID-19 policy has been updated in accordance with both Western Australian law and our own guidelines which aim to provide the maximum amount of protection to our clients, carers, staff and the wider community.

With reference to our previous COVID-19 policy, many of these guidelines and precautions will remain in place. These include:

  • All staff undertaking appropriate hand hygiene and PPE training and precautions as a matter of good clinical practice
  • All staff being encouraged to stay home if they display any cold and flu type symptoms and being asked to get tested for COVID-19 and to self isolate
  • Continuing to monitor and follow all COVID-19 health advice and guidelines as mandated by both the State and Federal governments
  • The safety and wellbeing of our clients and staff is our immediate priority and is at the forefront of our minds at all times

In addition to these existing guidelines, mandatory temperature checks, hand sanitising stations, and contact registers will remain at all Alzheimer’s WA premises. We also strongly recommend a continued adherence to social distancing (1.5m) when around our most vulnerable residents.

All visitors to Alzheimer’s WA premises will also be subject to the following measures, including our updated vaccination policy (see below). This encompasses all of the above mentioned guidelines, along with providing proof of a recent flu vaccination, as well as prohibiting entry to our aged care centres for anybody who has returned from overseas in the last 14 days, or has been informed that they are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

At Alzheimer’s WA, the well-being and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers is our immediate priority and we wish to reassure you that we are well prepared for COVID-19. Partnering with the Department of Health, we have implemented a number of safe guards to minimise the risk of COVID-19 and are certainly mindful of the ongoing threat of Omicron and any new strains of the virus. Health and safety is paramount and we are working hard to continue to diligently enhance our protocols.

 

Our COVID-19 Emergency Response Team are engaged and are fully compliant with best practice protocols.  All of our staff members have up to date vaccinations and have the latest training in IPC and PPE.  We have implemented Rapid Antigen Tests for all our front line workers, prior to attending work for your safety and peace of mind.

We have assembled below a list of Frequently Asked Questions  as together,  we navigate the evolving situation.  Please do contact us on 1800 66 77 88 should you have any questions, concerns or suggestions and one of our friendly team members will be pleased to assist you.

What impact will COVID-19 have on my services?

Due to the implementation of the Level 2 restrictions and the requirement of the 2 square metre rule, we will be imposing restrictions to some of our services but you will be notified of this by one of our friendly team members. If your service is affected, we will be in immediate contact. We will endeavour to offer alternative options to you and your friendly coordinator will continue to support you and discuss any services or changes in your plan with you.

How long does COVID-19 last? When will I recover?  How long can you continue to test positive for COVID 19?

Most people with COVID-19 will have a mild illness and will recover in a few days. People are considered to be infectious from 48 hours before may occur. The infectious period varies from person to person. People with mild illness are generally considered to be recovered after 7 days if they have been asymptomatic or have not developed any new symptoms during this time.

What should I do if I am still testing positive for COVID-19?

There may be cases where you return a positive Covid-19 test although you have recovered. This is due to the fact that people with COVID-19 may have infected cells in their body. This is called ‘viral shedding’.

People who have no symptoms and have recovered don’t need to be retested within 12 weeks after leaving isolation. But if you have recovered from COVID and develop symptoms at least 12 weeks after your period of isolation, you must get tested.

What steps are AWA taking to ensure our safety?

We have a COVID-19 Emergency Response team (CERT) engaged and who meet regularly to ensure safety and compliance with DOH requirements. Our team members have all received infection control and PPE training. All staff have also received their vaccinations and specialist training in order for us to continue delivering services.

We hope that this gives you peace of mind of our unwavering commitment that when we provide you with our services or arrive at your home, we are doing so safely.

What if I get COVID-19, or my carer does?

Members of our team have gone through specialist training by our resident clinician and are able to continue providing essential services to those who may be isolating with suspected, or confirmed, COVID-19. This will be co-ordinates as usual, by our CERT COVID-19 emergency Project Lead.

What do you require me to do at this time?

We continue to encourage all clients to have their up to date vaccination status to ensure that we take all the reasonable  precautions to protect you and your family and our staff providing services. AWA is dedicated to providing our usual services and we are taking a cautious approach while taking all necessary steps to keep you and our team members safe. We do appreciate your patience, as we may ask you for proof of vaccination.  Please also note that we may request to change your service time should our staff members who provide the  service be isolating.

We request that you advise us ahead of our service delivery of any symptoms eg. cold like symptoms, are not feeling well, or are a close contact, or been advised to be tested for COVID-19, so that we can work with you to provide the support you need in the safest way possible.

Will I be able to get the same support worker during this time? 

We understand how important this is to you. We are doing all we can to provide you with your preferred support person and we understand that the need for you have for the same person, who brings familiarity who you can trust and this is the foundation of our person-centred approach to services. We do however request some flexibility and patience from you at this time. Please note that some of our staff members may also need time off too, to care for their loved ones and may be required time to isolate during these uncertain times and we appreciate your understanding and flexibility at this time.

Can I get COVID-19 again?  

Yes. However, the level of protection you have can depend on factors like age and immunosuppression. Up to date vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself against reinfection. While the risk of catching COVID-19 again after recovering is lower, please note that reinfection is still possible.

What will happen to my services if I (or a household member) test positive or have been identified a close contact?

Your Care Coordinator will work with you to minimize impact and disruption on services which you consider are important and essential to your well-being.

I live with someone who is tested positive, should I get tested as well?

Yes, it’s a close contact and you need to follow the protocol.

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/covid-19/close-contacts#confirmed-case

Can I leave home to buy essential items after detecting COVID-19?

No, you should be isolating for next 7 days and until your symptom is clear.

https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/restrictions-and-lockdowns#quarantine-and-isolation

Have there been any changes to access to Alzheimer’s respite houses?

Require COVID vaccination certificate to attend social support community groups and respite House. Temperature will be taken at the beginning of each service.

Who should I inform if I (or a household member test positive) or have been identified as a close contact?

Please advise your Care Coordinator as soon as possible prior to commencement of your next service.

Am I required to wear a mask when receiving service?

Yes. Unless you are an exemption.

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/publications/covid-19-coronavirus-level-1-public-health-and-social-measures#general

If I am in isolation or quarantine, am I able to access RATs and PCR test from Alzheimer’s or my package?

Providers can use HCP funds to reimburse care recipients for RAT kits purchased by the care recipient where they are used to meet the person’s aged care needs, such as supporting delivery of aged care services. Where a care recipient requires RATs for personal use, most will be to access free RATs under the Government’s provision for concession card holders.

NDIS participants can purchase RATs with funding from their NDIS plan. Participants can use their core funding to purchase RATs where it is required to access their reasonable and necessary supports.

Our purpose is to partner with you on your dementia journey and we continue focus on our person-centred philosophy. We are taking the required steps to maximise your safety and the safety of our team members, while continuing to provide quality services. Your feedback is important to us, should you have any other questions, concerns or comments, please be in contact.

My sincere appreciation to you for your patience as we work together during these uncertain times and I thank you for your resilience. For those of you who may be isolating, we wish you a safe and full recovery.

We are here to support you during your journey and together we will ensure that no one faces dementia alone.

Yours sincerely,

Ella Dachs

Vaccination Policy

As a health care provider which serves a particularly vulnerable cohort of the community, our vaccination policy runs in accordance with recent Western Australian Government mandates for such organisations. As a result, all Alzheimer’s WA staff and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated by December 31st 2021.

In addition to this, Alzheimer’s WA has also mandated that all external stakeholders, suppliers, maintenance providers, and members of the community be fully vaccinated prior to entering any Alzheimer’s WA premises from January 1st 2022 onwards. Anybody who is not fully vaccinated by this date, will not be able to enter any Alzheimer’s WA premises under any circumstances. This is necessary to ensure that our organisation can continue to provide it’s services in a manner that ensures the safety of our clients, staff and volunteers.

COVID-19 is a continually evolving situation – our COVID-19 response team meet regularly to ensure your safety and includes the following:

  • Warren Harding, Chairman
  • Ella Dachs, Chief Executive Officer
  • Nigel Holmes, Head of Finance and Operational Performance
  • Andrew Crow, Head of Education and Consulting
  • David Garrett, ICT and Assets Manager
  • Chamila Jayalath, Head of People and Culture

New COVID safety measures at Alzheimer’s WA  Effective Monday, 14th February 2022

Given the recent outbreak at a Perth based residential aged care facility, the Alzheimer’s WA Board and CEO have issued new guidelines to our Respite House Leaders to ensure we maintain the highest possible level of safety and quality services.

To that end, as of 9am Monday, 14 February 2022 until further notice, we will be introducing a “drop off and pick up” policy for our all our clients/ members across all our Houses in Shenton Park, Mandurah and Albany. We will also be limiting non-essential entry to our Houses to ensure minimal contact.

Only clients who have met the Govt vaccination requirements and our essential workers will be admitted into our Houses and carers are respectfully requested to not enter the Houses.We are very pleased to advise you that all our staff are 100% fully compliant with WA Government’s double dose regulations.

All other visitors/contractors/suppliers interacting with our Alzheimer’s WA staff are also to be subject to the WA Government proof of vaccination directive which requires all visitors aged 16 years and older to provide valid proof of their full COVID-19 vaccination to be able to enter our premises and will be required to:− Sign in;− Scan the QR codes using the SafeWA or ServiceWA app;− Conduct temperature checks and sign in using our electronic system;− Wear a mask;− Provide proof of full immunisation against COVID-19;− Provide proof of booster vaccination if applicable;− Practice good hand hygiene by washing and sanitising your hands regularly;− Practice good hygiene by coughing or sneeze into your elbow; and− Stay home if unwell.Contractors/ Suppliers and non-essential workers may not visit our premises if you have:− Returned from overseas in the last 7 days;− You have been informed you are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days;− Any symptoms of a cold or flu, including fever, respiratory infection or loss of smell or taste; or− Visited a high-risk location.

We thank you for your co-operation. We are very proud of our safety record and with your assistance we will keep everyone safe whilst our Houses continue to provide the highest quality respite, bus and group services you have always enjoyed. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact any of our House Leaders. As always, your safety is our immediate priority and we appreciate your co-operation.

COVID-19 Resources

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