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Preparation is the Key
to Managing COVID

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Preparation is the Key to Managing COVID

Stephanie Buckland | Chief Executive Officer, Amana Living

‘When I am afraid, I put my trust in you’ - Psalm 56:3

While the rest of Australia struggled under the strain of COVID-19, life has gone on pretty much as usual in WA until recently. Now, with daily COVID-19 cases in the thousands, the virus is a very real part of our lives. Fortunately, we have been preparing for this moment since the very beginning of the pandemic.

Early on we established a strong governance structure consisting of a steering committee, Outbreak Management Team, and outbreak planning groups. They have developed policies, procedures and programs for staffing, training, vaccinations, PPE, communications, logistics and more.

We’ve made sure staff are trained and resourced so they can skilfully deploy outbreak management plans in a heartbeat, while protecting their health and wellbeing too. A hotline has been established to help staff required to isolate, plus they can access pastoral care from Amana Living’s chaplains.

An infection prevention and control team, nicknamed the orange team, has been in place for nearly two years. Led by a highly experienced registered nurse, the orange team has upskilled all staff and provided specialist support to our residential care centres exposed to COVID-19.

We’ve remained vigilant throughout the pandemic, screening all staff, residents, home care clients, and visitors, plus we’ve recently introduced rapid antigen testing for all frontline staff. A successful vaccine program for both residents and staff has added another layer of defence.

We’ve also significantly expanded our capabilities and resources, adding a contact tracing team and investing in our own central PPE stockpile so we’re not dependent on external sources.

Communication has been a constant. We regularly update residents and families about any COVID incidents, and they trust us to keep their loved ones safe. Families have also appreciated the introduction of a new ‘named visitor’ policy, which allows a family member to be able to visit an outbreak site once it has been stabilised.

Most recently, one of our teams helped to reunite a mother and son who had been separated for two years. Once WA’s borders re-opened, the son travelled to Perth but his mother’s care centre had closed to visitors just hours before. Instead of turning him away, the infection control specialist conducted a rapid antigen test and helped him don PPE before taking him to his mum. It was a very emotional reunion and there was not a dry eye in the room.

Moments like these make the hard work worthwhile and I’m grateful for the dedication of our team who has continued to deliver service, kindness and professional care during challenging times. The pandemic is far from over but I’m confident we can continue to excel in providing Christian care thanks to the skill and preparation of our staff and the support of our community.

A resident and her son reunited after 2 years

Amana Living

Amana Living Inc. is one of WA’s largest not-for-profit providers of care and services for older people.

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