Aged care in lockdown
Restrictions on visitors

Aged care in lockdown

'Our residents realise that their age cohort are the ones at greatest risk in terms of the impact of COVID-19'.

Sydney's Montefiore.
Sydney's Montefiore.

MELBOURNE’S Jewish Care and Emmy Monash and Sydney’s Montefiore have this week announced restrictions on all visitors except in emergency situations and under exceptional circumstances.

President of Jewish Care Susie Ivany said, “The board of Jewish Care understands how traumatic this announcement will be for many Elders and families. We are however unified in the view that we must do everything we can to prevent exposure of our Elders to this virus … Elders continue to be free to move around their homes, but social distancing practices will remain in place in all common areas.”

As Jewish Care’s residential aged care homes went into lockdown on Wednesday, the organisation launched a Jewish Care Victoria COVID-19 Helpline.

The telephone service assists those in the Victorian Jewish community who are experiencing emotional distress, social isolation or financial hardship, or are losing connection to their community and need assistance with errands due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Emmy Monash in lockdown. Photo: Peter Haskin

Following the government’s shutdown of non-essential services across Victoria on Monday, Emmy Monash went into precautionary lockdown on Tuesday.

CEO Tanya Abramzon commented, “We are not permitting any visitors into the facility and restricting residents from leaving the facility, unless for medical reasons … We have redeployed some staff to increase social visits to residents and maintain connectedness.”

She added, “We are aware these changes will impact family events, Jewish festivals and other activities but these measures are essential.”

Meanwhile in Sydney, Montefiore went into lockdown on Monday.

CEO of Montefiore Robert Orie remarked, “We have restricted access to all visitors and non-essential contractors to make sure that we limit the risk of contamination coming into the facility … We are allowing companions – private contractors who provide social support to some residents, but they have to undergo the same stringent screening processes as our staff and comply with our infection control procedures.”

With the aid of technology, Montefiore is enabling communication and interaction between family members and residents to continue, while the organisation’s diversional therapists, leisure and lifestyle teams and social workers are continuing to provide residents with social support.

“Our residents realise that their age cohort are the ones at greatest risk in terms of the impact of COVID-19,” remarked Orie. “I think generally speaking they are appreciative of the actions we are taking to safeguard their wellbeing. None of them like the fact that we are restricting visits, but the vast majority understand why.”

Although Sydney’s COA remains open on a drop-in basis, activities at the centre have been temporarily cancelled, while at-home service offerings have increased.

The Jewish Care Victoria COVID-19 Helpline, (03) 8517 5555, operates Monday to Friday 8.30am-6.30pm.

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