SA Health blanket testing aged care residents and staff in Adelaide’s northern suburbs

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More proactive action from the authorities as the state’s COVID cluster continues to grow.

Helping Hand CEO Chris Stewart (pictured right)tells us while the provider has no positive cases, State Pathology Services conducted blanket COVID-19 testing of all staff and residents at two of their 10 aged care homes – around 300 people – which are located within 5km of AnglicareSA’s Brompton aged care home where three staff have tested positive.

Chris says this proactive measure was welcomed by residents, staff and families, along with the news that the state has established its own Aged Care Response Centre.

He says there is a high degree of caution being shown given the tragic experience in Victoria’s aged care sector.

“There is a lot of stress in the community and among staff,” he said.

Prior to yesterday’s state-wide six-day lockdown, Helping Hand had restricted visitors across its 10 homes while facilitating care and support visits and compassionate and end-of life visits in accordance with the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19.

And so far, residents and families are supporting the measures, based on feedback results from 800 clients, residents and family members surveyed in August which showed 90% were satisfied with communication and information and 80% agreed with the approach to visitor restrictions.

Helping Hand has also run over 50 simulations across its sites and services in partnership with SA Health over the past six months to ensure they are “match fit” for any outbreak scenarios.

“Staff and families are on high alert and being very proactive in isolating and getting tested where appropriate,” Chris said.

“Our mantra is ‘planning for the worst, hoping for the best’ at the moment.”