Staying positive amid COVID challenges

Staying positive amid COVID challenges
It is an anxious time for everyone at the moment and the team at Lakeview Opal Aged Care are doing positive things to help their residents enjoy each day and stay connected to the people they love.
“At Opal Lakeview we are not only protecting our residents during COVID but importantly, enabling our residents to continue to live with purpose and do the things they enjoy while stage three restrictions are in place,” director of communications and community engagement, Roseanne Cartwright, said. 
Opal Lakeview has acted quickly in response to the constantly evolving situation in Victoria.
“We are adhering to the Victorian Government’s stage three restrictions and continuing to nurture our thriving community of residents in our care home,” Ms Cartwright said.
The facility has many protocols in place to keep residents and their team safe.
“We continue to practice hyper-vigilance in our care home and in our movements outside of the care home,” she said.
“From a safety perspective, we have a robust COVID-19 plan in place and it is audited regularly. Every team member and visitor must complete our active health screening every time they enter our home.
“Our team are working in designated areas of the home only, with access to separate rooms and amenities so that there is no crossover between teams.
“Active screening of all team and essential visitors is undertaken and is one of our strongest lines of defence.
“They are all required to ensure hand and respiratory hygiene at all times and to practice spatial distancing as much as possible while in our home,” Ms Cartwright said.
With stage three restrictions in place, Lakeview has been settling into the rhythm of this ‘new normal’. 
The residents are getting used to staff wearing masks in the home and they have been displaying a photo of their smiling face on their uniform to help residents recognise staff and feel safe and comfortable in care.
“We have adapting meaningful life activities to ensure all the right safety measures are in place and to enable residents to stay engaged in their interests, and importantly, we are creating opportunities on a daily basis to have some fun,” Ms Cartwright said.
“Our residents are just like everyone else in the community during COVID restrictions. Having something to look forward to each day and continuing to participate in the things they enjoy doing is vital for wellbeing.”
Lakeview has reduced the number of visitors coming into the home during stage three restrictions, but continue to welcome new residents.
“We are in regular communication with our residents’ direct contacts to keep them closely updated as to their health and wellbeing,” Ms Cartwright said.
“Our team continue to focus on maintaining meaningful connections between loved ones while families stay home to keep our residents safe.”
Where it is not essential to visit in person, families are connecting using technology such as Zoom, Skype or FaceTime calls, having window visits, or through emails, postcards, letters and phone calls.
“For many families, we have seen the joy of FaceTiming in the evening to say goodnight, of Zooming with family for an occasion that may otherwise have been missed,” Ms Cartwright said.
Residents have enjoyed learning to use new technologies and these important connections have become part of life in the home.
“We believe human connection is at the heart of wellbeing and we are reminded of this every day in the way the community has rallied together to support one another throughout COVID,” Ms Cartwright said.
Opal Lakeview thanks the families and the East Gippsland community for their support in helping keep residents and the team safe through the pandemic.