Important Update: COVID-19 and Residential Sites Visiting Restrictions

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

From Brightwater CEO Jennifer Lawrence:

I previously wrote to you on 19 March 2020 to advise of the visiting restrictions we were introducing at Brightwater sites to keep our clients safe. 

As you are aware, this was a very difficult decision, and I am pleased to advise that we have had no cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst our clients or staff during this time.

We committed to reviewing these restrictions after four weeks which we have now done.  Based on the best available advice and Government direction, we will be extending the current restrictions for a further four weeks. At the end of that period, we will again review and communicate with you.

I appreciate that not being able to visit your loved one is really difficult at the moment. The decision to continue with restricted visiting is made in the best interests of our clients, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. We have seen the impact of COVID-19 on care facilities over East, and currently one in three nursing homes in Europe and the United Kingdom are reporting cases of the virus, with a 30 to 40% mortality rate. It is critical that we continue to work together to keep our clients’ homes safe.

Thank you to all those families who have emailed or telephoned in support of our position - this is much appreciated.

Supporting the health and wellbeing of clients is critical at this time and Brightwater has commenced programs to keep you connected with your loved one as much as possible over this time. 

Activities and Family Connection

Our team is working on the following to assist our clients to remain both physically and mentally healthy, including:

  • A dedicated Connection Co-ordinator for each site
  • Continuation of favourite activities in small groups including bingo, happy hour, exercise
  • Additional cognitive/mind activities
  • Weekly morning/afternoon teas outside in the gardens
  • Regular scheduled times by therapists for outside walks/wheelchair walks
  • Screening of movies
  • Ability to connect via telephone/Skype
  • Music program over video
  • Family catch ups with social distancing through windows

We are also implementing a number of new initiatives:

  • Increased cleaning staff on each of our sites over and above current cleaning arrangements
  • Implementing a process of staff changing clothes when arriving at work and then leaving work
  • Enhanced staff training on infection control, over and above our already strict protocols
  • Implementing temperature checking for all staff coming to work
  • Increasing weekend activities across all sites to promote participation and engagement
  • Implementing Brightwater Buddies – a way for community volunteers to connect with your loved one during this time through letter, paintings or phone calls

Important information regarding the Influenza Vaccine

The Commonwealth Government has now mandated that after the 1 May 2020 ‘no person can enter or remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility if the person does not have a current vaccination against influenza’.

We are recommending that all families commence arranging their own flu vaccination, so that when visitor restrictions are lifted you will be able to visit the site. Brightwater has internal flu clinics underway to ensure all staff are vaccinated.

I recognise how hard the last month has been for everyone, and I thank you for your continued support and understanding during this time.

Yours sincerely,

Jennifer Lawrence
Chief Executive Officer