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Ryman Healthcare Coronavirus (COVID-19) update | 21 March 2020

Written by David King
on March 21, 2020

URGENT UPDATE: NEW MEASURES IN PLACE

We wanted to let you know that it is been recommended that all people in aged over 70 years stay at home to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

While this is a New Zealand Government recommendation, we agree with it, and we want everyone in our Ryman communities in Victoria to know we are there to help if they wish to stay at home.

The message is clear: We all need to distance ourselves from others to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We have been incredibly fortunate we have had no cases of COVID-19 so far across our 11,600 residents and 5,700 staff in New Zealand and Australia.

However, we need to step it up and stay in front of this as the number of cases grows. We are sure the time is right to tighten our safeguards to guard against COVID-19.

Care centre and Serviced Apartment resident visits to cease 5pm tomorrow

We are stopping all visits to all our care and serviced apartment residents from 5pm tomorrow (Sunday March 22).

The only exceptions will be for the families of residents in palliative care or for end of life care, should you wish to visit.

These visitors will be required to wear face masks and follow careful protocols for hygiene wellness and social distancing.

We understand this may cause a degree of distress for residents and families.

There is no getting away from this. But we think it is critical that we do it now while we have the chance.

We will be able to find other ways of keeping in touch, including by phone and by Skype.

We will review these strong measures as the situation unfolds.

Our village centres are now closed for social and group activities

For the avoidance of doubt, our village centres are now closed for social and group activities and gatherings, either formal or informal.

We need to significantly reduce visits to independent residents to essential only

It is recommended that people aged over 70 stay at home, so we are putting extra resources into our villages to ensure we can provide support for all our independent residents.

To support this critical directive, it is also clear that we need to reduce all unnecessary visits to our village immediately.

We are looking at ways we can help with shopping and other support.

We will let you know about these next week – and they will include grocery and meal deliveries and Triple A classes at home.

We know that many of you will have great family support, and this will continue throughout.

The best thing your family members can do is to ring and keep in touch.

Visits should be to drop shopping at the door, and the visits should be of short duration.

Family should follow the social distancing rules, keeping at least 2m away and keeping any essential visits very brief.

We will require your visitors to check in with security at the gates, so we can track who is coming and going so that we can check on their health status and purpose of the visit.

We appreciate that what we are asking is significant - however we are learning from around the world that we need to stay ahead of this together by taking decisive action.

We know you already have great community networks, so make the most of your friends by keeping in touch over the phone or by email.

Residents should remember that your village team is here to help.

So please let the team know about any urgent needs you have.

Please be patient!

We are living in unprecedented times and we are all trying our best to adapt to a rapidly changing situation.

So please be patient and bear with us as we roll out new ways of doing things and of keeping connected and safe.

We want to ease the burden of non-urgent inquiries on your village team and have established a nationwide help team for your inquiries that are not so pressing.

You can contact them from Monday March 23 on residentsupport@rymanhealthcare.com or 1800 288 299

For residents who are online, you can find wellbeing advice at www.rymanhealthcare.com.au/wellness

It’s good to talk

We will do everything we can to help you keep in touch during this period. The best way to connect is by phone, and we are finding other ways to keep people in touch.

So, for families – don’t be afraid to call your loved one to see how they are doing.

Once again, please remember that we are here to help, so do not hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks again to everyone for your help, support and feedback as we work through this.

Gordon MacLeod
Chief Executive
Ryman Healthcare

Cheyne Chalmers
Chief Operating Officer
Ryman Healthcare

For queries contact 1800 288 299 (Australia) or email humanresources@rymanhealthcare.co.nz

How do we keep COVID-19 out?

Our best defence remains:

  • Staying away from our villages if you are unwell or need to be in self-isolation. If you have been unwell, you must be symptom-free for 48 hours before visiting
  • If you live in a village, do not gather in groups and person-to-person contact as much as possible
  • Practising good hand hygiene – that is, washing hands regularly with soap and water, and cleansing with hand sanitiser.
  • Coughing or sneezing into tissues or elbows.
  • Avoiding shaking hands or unnecessary contact.
  • Practising social distancing – staying at least 2 m away is safest.

How COVID-19 spreads

Transmission of COVID-19 is considered to occur primarily through respiratory droplets and secretions. The virus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • direct contact with a person while they are infectious.
  • contact with droplets when a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes.
  • touching objects or surfaces that were contaminated by droplets (like those from a cough or sneeze) from a person with a confirmed infection and then touching your mouth or face.

Symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, a dry cough, and sometimes difficulty breathing. Symptoms are like a range of other illnesses such as influenza and does not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19. Difficulty in breathing is a possible sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

Handy links:

www.health.gov.au/covid19-resources

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19#i-have-been-asked-to-self-isolate-what-does-this-mean

https://www.rymanhealthcare.com.au/wellness

https://www.rymanhealthcare.com.au/coronavirus-updates

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