Village Voice: May 2020

The Home Stretch

The initial shock and fear associated with the emergence of COVID-19 appears to be giving way to boredom, frustration and for some, loneliness and helplessness. I hear and share your disappointment that we cannot do all of the things we enjoy and like to do and our Staff are feeling the same way.

I would like to praise and commend the excellent work and efforts of our staff, they have accepted every challenge presented to them and innovated and adapted to new ways of working and living. Many of our Nurses are taking on additional shifts to ensure that we are not using Agency Staff, all while balancing home schooling, shopping / caring for older relatives, partners suddenly out of work and the intense disruption that COVID-19 has made to all of our lives. Our Maintenance team have split into 2 teams that start at different times to ensure that they can meet distancing requirements when they are in the maintenance compound. Staff who for health reasons are more at risk are taking leave they didn’t expect to take.

Where possible, Admin and Home Care Office staff are mixing working from the office and working from home to reduce the amount of contact between staff to protect those whose work is essential to the daily operation of the company such as payroll and accounts. Our Senior Managers have absorbed the exponential growth in their daily workload associated with managing the infection control risks and COVID-19 requirements with grace and their strong leadership at this very difficult time is why we have been so fortunate in keeping the Manor and Lodge COVID-19 free and had no spread of COVID-19 in the Independent Units. Early on in the pandemic, there were a very very small number of travellers who had COVID when they arrived back in Victoria and their care, hospitalisation and isolation was managed by the Health Department. There was no risk to other Residents and there was no need or lawful reason for the Village to share these private medical details publicly.

Each year we apply isolation strategies to manage flu season, and these strategies continue to apply. Anyone with flu-like symptoms is asked to isolate in their unit and staff should not attend until the person is clear of the symptoms. This continues to occur, and Residents should not make assumptions or start rumours about why specific people are asked to isolate. Most ambulance officers are wearing full personal protective equipment such as gowns, gloves, masks, and eye protection when attending units and where possible, applying a mask to the patient if they are being transported to hospital. This is standard practice to protect the health and safety of Ambulance staff who attend multiple patients in a day and does not in any way indicate that a person has any respiratory infection issues.

Rumours can create so much unnecessary distress and work, and so far rumours being spread amongst Village Residents have resulted in the bus service being temporality suspended leaving residents waiting at bus stops, in staff being sent letters from other employers and families calling me very angry, upset and afraid having ‘heard’ that the Village was experiencing an outbreak of COVID (totally untrue). The additional work that each of these events created was exceptional and diverted key resources away from other important matters. In the event of an “outbreak” of any infectious disease in the Village, I assure you, that you will be informed by myself or Stuart. If you hear this kind of talk from any other source, you can be certain that it is untrue and the person telling you is simply spreading gossip and misinformation.

Please keep up the good work you are all doing with social distancing and staying home. I look forward to writing my June Village Voice article where I hope to be talking about the things we can do and how well we have managed the peak of the pandemic.

Take care, 

Kim Jackson, Executive Manager