50 days without a cold, flu or COVID-19

aged care coronavirus northern beaches

‘Fortress Allambie’ entered into Elevated Restricted Access status on the evening of 31 March 2020.

No relatives or visitors were permitting access to the residential aged care facility except on compassionate or medical grounds in respect of only a very small number of residents’ relatives whom we accommodated with visits under strict Infection Control Procedures. I want to thank our relatives for their support during this time. I want to thank our residents who were so supportive of this initiative and of course our wonderful Company staff, everyone of us who have been part of this commitment to protect our residents and our staff. Our staff r and misrepresenting the effective work of the 360,000 staff in the Aged Care Industry who were implementing Restricted Access in the safe manner that we know.

Our Industry came under unnecessary scrutiny with emotive language being used irresponsibly by politicians and our Nation’s leaders referring to ‘lockdowns’, ‘residents being locked in their rooms’.  That is why we decided not to use that dreadful term ‘lockdown’ and in its place a more precise term of ‘Elevated (raise to a higher level) Restricted Access’. And politicians should know better. An Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) that all residential aged care facilities must display and more importantly be totally compliant in regarding all fire safety standards, does not allow for a resident’s room door that cannot be opened. All our residents can open their own room door when inside, so how could a resident be ‘locked in’?

The outcome of our Survey with Relatives? 98% in favour of staying away and not visiting, an overwhelming level of support and vote of confidence in our Company’s, management and staff approach. Relatives wrote to us to congratulate us on our approach, some from overseas referred to the numbers of deaths in nursing homes in the countries where they were living and some very clearly said that they would not visit because they did not want to carry the responsibility of potentially bringing in COVID-19 and/or Influenza to their loved one that could infect other residents and our staff.

98% in favour of not visiting.  Thank you sincerely!

On 14 May 2020 we moved from Elevated back to a Restricted Access status with arranged and pre-booked visits by relatives and visitors under Infection Control Procedures.

If ever there was a vindication of our approach, of our expertise in health, in care, in management, in protection and in leadership, it is reflected in the photo accompanying this article. On 20 May 2020, staff joined me to stand in the same place as we had at the start of our period of Elevated Restricted Access commenced on 31 March 2020 and to record, 50 days during which not a single resident of our residential aged care facility had presented with a cold, flu or with COVID-19!

I have confidence in health experts and they are my team of health experts! They have demonstrated this. I hope everyone is listening, particularly the politicians!

Ciarán Foley
Chief Executive Officer
Allambie Heights Village Ltd.
Email: CFoley@alhvillage.com.au

Further readingChannel 9 News “We’re in elevated restricted access because we want to save lives, ” says CEO from ‘Fortress Allambie’ »