Vanda Iaconese, Doutta Galla Aged Services, Australia
Doutta Galla Aged Services is a middle size, not-for-profit provider of aged services in Melbourne Australia. We have 8 residential aged care homes, 2 retirements living sites with 96 units and a small domestic intensive leaning service. We provide services to about 1000 different people are year and have about 600 staff at any one time.
The outbreaks that Doutta Galla managed occurred during what was a very significant time within the Victorian COVID-19 pandemic crisis in 2020 (although at the time of writing this abstract the State of Victoria is in Lockdown No6)). Over 220 Victorian aged care homes were impacted during this time in2020. Notably, 7 of Doutta Galla homes are located within what were the Victorian Government determined major hot spots and occurred during the peak period of community transmission (in the vicinity of over 700 new COVID-19 positive people/cases per day). As well many Doutta Galla staff live within the identified hot spot suburbs, and this presented additional challenges.
Like many aged care organisations in preparing for a COVID-19 outbreak, Doutta Galla had invested significant resources and undertaken considerable pre-planning for the possibility for number of outbreaks but no-one within or outside the sector or at a Government level predicted the number of outbreaks which ultimately occurred particularly within the Western suburbs of Melbourne
Consequently, Doutta Galla had to manage 12 outbreaks between May and October 2020 May, and over July and August was managing five outbreaks at one time. Three Doutta Galla Homes had direct resident impacts. A tragedy made worse by that fact that many of these residents were already on a ‘palliative path’ but had now become a COVID statistic. The devastation that has been felt both in my organisation and in aged care in Victoria cannot be overstated.
Responding to the crises led to a significant increase in investment in resources deployed by Doutta Galla to ensure that residents were provided with the best care and support during this incredibly challenging time.
There were several stages of manaegement- some of which happened at different times and some concurrently for Doutta Galla
- Preplanning and replanning
- Visitor restrictions and partial closures
- Precautionary lock downs
- Full lockdown for outbreaks
The presentation will cover the issues faced in managing the COVID outbreaks, and lessons learned and will cover questions that might be asked such as
- What initiatives did Doutta Galla use to keep residents engaged?
- What was the biggest challenge for the organisation?
- For services that were directly impacted, how are they now recovering?
- With the benefit of hindsight, what has changed preparing for COVID-19 or in response to an outbreak?
- Has COVID-19 provided an opportunity to rethink the way services are delivered?
- Has COVID-19 provided an opportunity rethink building design and infrastructure?
- What were the impacts on the workforce?