We have introduced a lot of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks, and we know our updates have been coming thick and fast as the situation has changed rapidly. This is our 20th update.
We sent our first coronavirus alert out in late January, and since then we have progressively introduced tighter restrictions and developed new systems to turn our villages as best we can into safe havens.
The aim of today’s update is to summarise all of things we have in place for our residents, so you know exactly what is happening and why.
Measures in place to protect our care and service apartment residents
We want to do whatever we can to protect our care centre residents from COVID-19 and look after their wellbeing at the same time.
We have full infection control and pandemic planning plans in place.
Our villages have been closed to all non-essential visitors since March 16.
Our staff are screened each day to ensure they are well, and their temperatures are checked. They are not coming to work if they are unwell.
We have had a 14-day stand down for staff returning from overseas since January, initially for staff returning from China, but we extended it to cover all overseas travel by mid-March.
We are also checking our residents’ temperatures each day to detect any early signs they are unwell. We are monitoring for any health changes closely, for example, a new cough.
Communal activities are restricted, and residents are eating in their rooms where possible, but we are making sure they have plenty of engagement with our staff to keep them entertained.
Our care and nursing staff are carrying out ‘intentional’ rounds – a system where they go out of their way to interact with all residents, so everyone gets regular checks and attention. The aim is to try and make up for the lack of family visits and to help ensure their wellbeing.
We are also doing our best to keep our residents in touch with family either by phone or video calling.
Our villages have extra stores of personal protection equipment (PPE) on hand and our staff are wearing it as required.
As a company we are extremely proud of the way our village teams have responded to this crisis.
We have given them a wage increase to recognise their role in essential services during the Level 4 lockdown and we are offering them free meals each day.
If they are unwell or need to stand down as a precaution, they are paid a special leave allowance. We have done this to ensure they do not work if they are unwell.
We have also paid staff while they have been stood down for14 days after international travel to ensure they were not penalised for doing the right thing.
They are changing into their uniforms at work and have access to any PPE they need.
Our clinical governance committee, which includes gerontologist Professor Tim Wilkinson, researcher Dr Doug Wilson and GP Dr David Kerr, has been overseeing our plans. We are also taking expert advice from microbiologist Ben Harris, who is an infection control specialist.
Extra services for serviced apartment, independent apartment and townhouse residents
We have asked that all our independent residents stay at home.
We have introduced static security at our front gates so that only essential services and staff are entering the village.
Everyone aged over 70 is regarded as high-risk, so we want them to stay in their own households and not leave the safety of the village.
To help with this we are:
- Supplying any additional meals required by serviced apartment residents
- Supplying bread, milk and biscuits
- Delivering any groceries and essentials from their families direct to them from our front gate security team
- Arranging for a twice weekly grocery shop to be delivered by Bidfood https://www.rymanhealthcare.co.nz/wellness/food-ordering-online
- Providing access to Triple A fitness classes online https://www.rymanhealthcare.co.nz/lifestyle-and-wellness/health-wellbeing/triple-a-exercises
- Supplying regular update newsletters as well as puzzles in a special weekly magazine
- Delivering Happy Hour in a Bag
- Conducting welfare check calls and arranging counselling for anyone struggling
- Organising flu vaccines so there is no need to go to your GP or local pharmacy
Our aim is to supply, arrange or deliver anything our residents need during the confinement period.
The principle is simple: Stay home, save lives.
Please follow the rules
We really appreciate the response we have had so far. It has been incredible.
If we had one message for our independent residents, it would be to follow Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s advice and ‘reach out – don’t go out.’
We are doing everything we can to ensure you have everything you need, so you can stay in your homes and stay safe.
People aged over 70 are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
Everyone in New Zealand is making large sacrifices to keep everyone safe.
Please let us help so you stay in the village and in your own homes.
And please let us know if there is anything more we can do to help.
Chief Operating Officer
For queries contact 0800 588 222 (New Zealand) or email email@example.com
How to keep in touch with us:
Your first point of contact is your village team, so if your query is urgent contact your village directly.
For less urgent inquiries please contact us on 0800 588 222 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For residents who are online, you can find wellbeing advice at www.rymanhealthcare.co.nz/wellness
If you need counselling, you are welcome to call our OCP service on 0800 377 990. Just let them know you are a Ryman resident and the village you are from.