Updated Covid19 Prevention and Management Protocols for Old Age Homes
The Western Cape Departments of Social Development and Health have updated and provided practical guidelines for the prevention and management of coronavirus infection in residential facilities, such as Old Age Homes.
These guidelines, which are currently being distributed to all facilities, are specifically designed for residents and staff and provide guidance on all hygiene aspects within a residential facility, and on response protocols for any suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases among staff or residents. They are intended to supplement the existing guidelines issued to these facilities at the onset of the lockdown.
The initial guidelines focused primarily on supporting DSD funded old age homes with implementing their infectious disease policy and disaster management plans, whereas the amended guidelines are divided into two main parts:
The Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said: “Part A of the guideline provides recommendations towards prevention strategies for COVID-19 in an Old Age Home. We further recognise the importance of consistently engaging with the Board of directors of these facilities, who perform such an invaluable service for our vulnerable older persons. We have also recommended preventative measures to all Old Age Homes across the Province so that we can be proactive in preventing further spread of the Covid19.”
The following preventative strategies are recommended:
- Immunization- Provide annual influenza vaccination to employees and residents as these infections are important contributors to respiratory mortality in older people.
- Basic Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus
- Physical distancing in Residential facilities
- Identification of Risk
- Daily screening program
- Staff member risk assessment
- Workplace risk assessment
The Western Cape Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo added: “Part B provides recommendations on what to do if residents and/or staff members are exposed/and or diagnosed with COVID-19 in a residential. In line with the risk approach to case management where vulnerable communities (such as the Aged) will be prioritized, the Health Department will conduct targeted screening and testing in Old Age Homes in hotpot areas.”
On a practical level, the two Departments have a referral protocol in place for any Old Age Home that reports an infection.
As per the sector empowerment strategy the provincial department of Social Development is acting as the first reference point to engage with old age homes and retirement villages, and the DOH, as reported above provide the technical guidance and testing where potential cases of COVID 19 infection are identified.
The Provincial DSD has also provided additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all funded old age homes. To date, we have issued and distributed 5000 face mask. We are expecting a further donation of 10 000 more face masks for Old age homes.
Furthermore, we are looking for further support in our effort to help those who are vulnerable across our communities. If you are able to donate any Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) or other support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We urge the public to access credible information on https://www.westerncape.gov.za/department-of-health/coronavirus.
Joshua Covenant Chigome
Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez
Tel: 021 483 9217
Private Bag X9112, Cape Town, 8000
14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001