A COVID-19 Update from SummitCare

Updated 16/09/2020

SummitCare is continuing to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic with a range of measures and protocols to ensure that its ten homes remain COVID-19 free.

As the pandemic continues to impact our community and more aged care facilities are reporting positive cases and deaths of residents, leading aged care provider SummitCare has reassured its staff, residents and their families that its number one priority will always be safety.

In fact, a recent survey of SummitCare residents shows that 99.38 per cent of respondents say they ‘still feel safe and well supported by [their] home’ and that the same amount of residents feel that ‘SummitCare staff are doing everything to assist in maintaining the connect/connection with [my] family or friends’.

Overwhelmingly, residents also say they have been well informed, are happy with the time that they engage with staff and feel freely able to raise any concerns.

Chief Operating Officer, Michelle Sloane, says that, while residents’ morale is ‘good’, the situation is ‘a major concern for the sector’, and at the bottom line, SummitCare’s standards of infection control ‘must and will not be compromised’.

“We’ve been planning a proactive and reactive response to COVID-19 since January,” she says.

“Our staff are being as vigilant as possible, following protocols and doing everything they can to keep themselves and their residents safe.”

SummitCare has taken a range of measures, following advice from the Federal and State Government Departments of Health, and aged care sector guidelines.

As of late July, SummitCare continues to allow admissions, both permanent and respite, into each of their ten homes across Sydney and in Wallsend, Newcastle.

Strict quarantine protocols are ensuring all new residents into homes are swabbed and tested before being allowed into the general community within the home.

If the new resident is symptomatic of a respiratory illness and has not been swabbed for COVID-19, SummitCare is not in a position to accept the admission to ensure the ongoing safety of existing residents.

Staff are practising infection control measures such as physical distancing and are wearing PPE while onsite.

While visits are not yet allowed, Michelle says that connection between residents and their families has never been more important.

“Our leisure and lifestyle activities are a key priority to ensure the mental health and social needs of every individual is being met during this time,” she says.

“Family members have the options of the ‘Window of Love’ where they can visit the home at an arranged time and see and speak to their loved one through a window using a phone or mobile device. Other alternatives include the use of Facetime, WhatsApp or other video conferencing applications which can be arranged with the home.”

For residents in palliative care, exemptions are available under the discretion of the General Manager of the home, who may allow entry for visitations.

Tours are currently available for each home on a virtual basis.

“We welcome families to contact the home to arrange a date and time for a member of the local leadership team to show the facility via a video conferencing app,” Michelle adds.

“We also offer extended phone conversations with the team to answer any questions people may have about services, fees, accommodation and facility features, in lieu of a physical visit to the home.”

Michelle acknowledges that this is a stressful time for us all, and ‘so SummitCare wishes to extend our gratitude to everyone for their patience, kindness and understanding.’

“We look forward to the easing of visiting restrictions and anticipate this should be occurring in the very near future. However, for now, the lives of the residents in our care is paramount.”

As a result of the measures taken at SummitCare, all homes remain COVID-19-free. You are most welcome to follow their progress on social media channels Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Fact Sheet - Families and residents on restricted visits to residential aged care facilities
From the Australian Government Department of Health.
Fact Sheet
A COVID-19-Free SummitCare