Bupa bans visitors from seeing elderly relatives to stem coronavirus spread

Mar 28, 2020
The new restrictions will come into effect from tomorrow. Source: Getty.

Bupa, which runs more than 70 aged care homes across the country, made the decision on Friday to stop all visitors entering its facilities, with the new restrictions coming into effect from today.

“As the number of Covid-19 infections continues to rise across Australia, we need to take new measures to prioritise the health and safety of our residents and employees,” Bupa managing director Suzanne Dvorak said.

“We have now made the difficult decision to stop all visits to Bupa aged care homes starting Saturday 28 March. This is due to the growing risk of Covid-19 infection from people entering our care homes, and recent Government advice to limit movement and interactions in the community.”

However, for palliative care residents, Dvorak said visitor exceptions would be made.

To make the transition as smooth as possible, Bupa has set up an initiative to help keep residents connected with their friends and family, as well as the wider community.

“While we know this is difficult for our residents and their loved ones, we have set up an initiative, Visits by Mail, to help keep residents connected with the community, and will continue to develop new ideas that support their wellbeing.

“We also encourage our residents’ families to video call their loved ones and have made arrangements at each home to facilitate this.”

Other aged care home providers to have banned visits include Arcare, Catholic Healthcare, Hall and Prior and St Basil’s, according to reports by the ABC. Meanwhile, aged care provider Opal last week banned all except “essential” visits.

“While the majority of people who have contracted the virus around the world have recovered, it is our elders who are most vulnerable to COVID-19,” the aged care provider said in a statement. “Therefore we must be hyper-vigilant in our actions to protect all of those we care for against the spread of the virus.”

Following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement last week, only a limited number of people are allowed to visit elderly loved ones in aged care facilities across the country, and if there’s any chance at all they’re unwell, they’re not allowed to enter the facility.

The ban on visiting also applies to anyone who has been overseas or had contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the last 14 days, those with cold or flu symptoms, and those who haven’t been vaccinated. Meanwhile, no group or schoolchildren visits are permitted.

Visitors must be screened against these criteria upon entry. They’re only permitted in their loved one’s room, restricted from entering any common rooms, and there are only two visitors allowed per resident at one time. However, the guidelines aren’t set in stone and how they’re implemented remains up to each aged care provider.

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