Keeping our community safe during the COVID-19 outbreak

All of us are deeply concerned by the growing spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) in Australia and around the world. Here at Montefiore, the Board and Executive are focused on protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents, clients, families, employees and volunteers at this challenging time. As of this communication I am pleased to report that we have had no diagnosed instances of COVID-19 at Montefiore.

I would like to share with all our supporters the important measures already put in place by the Montefiore COVID-19 Management Team (MCMT) to reduce the risk of infection across the organisation. These decisions are being constantly reviewed and updated in line with the latest government, public health and aged care sector advice.

Visiting restrictions

As of today, and in line with the latest NSW Public Health Unit (PHU) advice, we have introduced new visiting hours in residential care, 10-11am & 4.30-5.30pm, and are restricting visits to two immediate family members (or person responsible) per day. As a condition of entry, all visitors, contractors and private companions must sign a declaration regarding their travel and health. Please note however that it is very possible that we will be obliged to change these guidelines without notice to our residents and families.

We have suspended visits by volunteers until further notice and cancelled all Leisure & Lifestyle excursions and external performers in residential care – internal programs will continue in small groups. No private celebrations such as birthday parties or anniversaries will be held onsite at this time. Additional hand sanitising and hand-washing facilities as well as signage have been provided throughout all sites, and no visiting pets are permitted until further notice.

Cancellation of programs & activities

We have taken the especially difficult decision to cancel family attendance at our Passover Seders. These will proceed for residents only. Synagogue services and minyans at all sites have also been suspended until further notice. Also disappointing is the cancellation of the first viewings of the new M by Montefiore display apartment, which were scheduled for this week. Construction is proceeding, and we will update you on new viewing times. The Burger Centre and Club Monte day programs are suspended until further notice, with staff continuing to support regular clients via phone.

Travel & health precautions

Under the current PHU guidelines employees, contractors, private companions and visitors returning from ANY overseas destination must now self-isolate and not visit our residential care sites for a minimum of 14 days. A 14-day quarantine period (followed by acceptable medical clearance) also applies to anyone who has had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. All employees, contractors, private companions and visitors have also been asked to disclose if they work at or visit any other aged care, hospital or medical facility and if disclosed it is our policy to refuse permission to enter Montefiore.

Staff precautions & training

In addition to the PHU clinical protocols and procedures already in place in case of outbreaks such as seasonal influenza, our staff have been receiving further training and support. The MCMT has developed a Business Continuity Plan, andwill continue to work with the PHU in sourcing supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

With thanks

I’d like to take this opportunity to offer a heartfelt thanks to each of our dedicated staff members and management for the extraordinary efforts they have made to date, and we look forward to their continued professionalism as we face the challenges ahead.

My further thanks go to all of you who support our efforts to protect the people in our care. We acknowledge that restricting family visitations will have a social and emotional impact on our residents, clients and families. Social connection is vital for our residents’ wellbeing, so the decision to limit these interactions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection is not taken lightly.

If you have any queries relating to any of the above, we have set up a dedicated email address at covid19info@montefiore.org.au, monitored weekdays 9am-3pm. For any urgent matters regarding COVID-19 and residential care, please contact the relevant care manager by phone. Look for the latest medical advice and updates at NSW Health.

Yours sincerely,

David Freeman AM, President