ARRCS and COVID-19 Coronavirus
We would like to reassure all residents, clients, families and next-of-kin that ARRCS facilities and services remain open, with prudent measures implemented to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our ARRCS employees, volunteers, clients, and residents from COVID-19.
ARRCS has been undertaking significant preparedness and scenario planning activities to ensure we are as prepared as possible for any widespread community transmission of COVID-19 or transmission of the virus to any of our employees, volunteers, residents or clients.
UnitingCare (which operates ARRCS) has stood up a central COVID-19 Management Team in recent weeks, and we are following our COVID-19 Response Plan. Key clinical ARRCS and UnitingCare officers are in regular contact with Northern Territory Health and other public health officials to ensure our response preparedness and response strategies are aligned to Federal and State Government agency planning.
Steps ARRCS is taking right now
ARRCS has taken the following actions to minimise the potential current and future risk of COVID-19 spread:
- Enhancing infection control measures at all of our aged care sites and services in anticipation of the continued spread of COVID-19 across the Northern Territory;
- Preparation and distribution of outbreak kits to all our residential aged care facilities. These will be used should any residents develop symptoms.
- Mandating social distancing with all employees and volunteers to reduce the risk of contamination by someone with the virus;
- Reinforcing good hand hygiene with all employees and volunteers;
- Restricting international and interstate business travel for our employees;
- Limiting employee travel within the Northern Territory to essential clinical and care services only; and
- Reducing large gatherings and meetings across our entire organisation to only those that are clinically necessary.
Information for ARRCS residential aged care clients and their loved ones
Last updated 24 February 2021
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is ARRCS’ plan to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to aged care residents and staff?
ARRCS is cooperating with vaccination teams from the Commonwealth Department of Health to ensure residents of our residential aged care homes receive the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine over the next six weeks, as per Phase 1A of the Commonwealth rollout strategy. We are also supporting follow-up vaccination team visits to deliver the second dose of the vaccine to residents and to inoculate ARRCS staff. We will advise ARRCS residents and their advocates of vaccination team visits directly and in advance.
Is ARRCS mandating COVID-19 vaccination for residential aged care residents and staff?
The Commonwealth Government has advised it will not be mandating the vaccine in Australia and we are following that advice; however, as COVID-19 vaccines prevent or reduce the severity of coronavirus illness, we are encouraging residents and staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Who will pay for the vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are fully funded by the Australian Government and free for ARRCS residents and staff.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines have been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use in people 16 years and older. This means the vaccines have been thoroughly reviewed to ensure they meet the high safety, efficacy and quality standards for use in Australia.
Are visitor restrictions currently in place at ARRCS facilities?
We are further protecting the health and wellbeing of residents and staff at our facilities by implementing new conditions for visitors:
- Staff and visitors who have returned from overseas in the last 14 days will not be able to enter the facility, and must self-isolate at home for 14 days;
- Staff and visitors who have been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case in the last 14 days will not be able to enter the facility;
- Visitors to ARRCS aged care facilities who have travelled interstate in the past 14 days are now being declined entry, as they have a higher risk of carrying the virus;
- Children under the age of 16 should only be visiting by exception;
- Visiting hours at our ARRCS aged care homes have now been limited to between the hours of 10am – 12pm, and 3pm to 6pm. People who need to visit loved ones outside of these hours are asked to seek approval from the manager of their respective ARRCS aged care home.
- Visits are limited to a maximum of two immediate social supports (family members, close friends, professional or advocacy support) for less than one hour at a time;
- Visits need to take place in the resident’s room, outdoors or in a specific area agreed by the service manager. This will reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission;
- Visitors need to adopt social distancing which means maintaining a distance of 1.5m from other staff, residents and visitors, and
- If you are visiting someone very unwell, ARRCS has discretionary rights to allow visits to residents as long as the above conditions are met.
We may institute further restrictions (including lockdown of our aged are homes) should the developing situation across the Northern Territory warrant it, or if we are requested to by the Federal Department of Health or Northern Territory Health.
Information for ARRCS community clients and their loved ones
We know you may be worried about COVID-19, however please rest assured ARRCS is taking all necessary steps as advised by Federal and State health agencies to protect your health and wellbeing.
Your connectedness to family, friends and community at this time is vital. If you are feeling lonely or concerned, please talk with your carer or call ARRCS on 08 8982 5200.
Please make yourself familiar with the following things you can do right now in your home:
- Practice social distancing where possible (except when receiving care) and maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others;
- Practice good hygiene measures:
- Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs.
- Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or paper, or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching areas of your face including nose and mouth, and avoid shaking hands.
- Stay at home if you are unwell.
- Avoid having contact with anyone who is unwell and try to keep 1.5 metres away from anyone coughing or sneezing.
- If you are unsure about anything, please talk with your carer and continue referring to https://health.nt.gov.au/ for updates and other information on COVID-19.
If you have any questions about the precautionary measures ARRCS is taking in relation to COVID-19, please do not hesitate to call our ARRCS head office team on 08 8982 5200.
Read the latest Australian Government and Northern Territory Government information