Text Size

Residential Care Residents

Update 31 March 2020

Update 31 March 2020

Update to family members, 31 March 2020

We are now in the second week of our lockdown period and everyone has settled into the new way of life within our care homes without the usual comings and goings of our regular visitors.

Our diversional therapists and activities coordinators are focussed on providing a busy programme of engagement in life interests and activities, and making sure that everyone’s involved in the everyday happenings of the homes, that they have companionship, enjoy their daily routine and continue to feel part of a wider, caring community of residents and staff. 

Residents are still able to enjoy activities such as seated exercise sessions, quizzes, current affairs, sing-a-longs, social games, special interest groups, ladies’ group, men’s club, walking groups (assisted by staff), movies and Happy Hour – and much more besides!  Our care homes are always very bright and colourful, but even more so now that our staff have lovely new tunic tops to wear in an array of colours, adding to the lively and vibrant atmosphere.

Our chaplains play an essential role in all The Selwyn Foundation’s care homes and – across our village sites – they’re continuing with regular services for groups of ten residents or fewer, and are resourcing interested people to continue with some form of music and prayers.

We’re also working on keeping our residents in touch with their families, by providing virtual access through a wide range of channels. These include, for example, FaceTime accessed on our nurses’ iPhones with families calling at a pre-arranged time, and emails from family which we can then read out to the resident (this is very popular with residents, and thank you to families for all the interesting and fun updates in your messages). Families can also connect using ‘WhatsApp’ on their iPhone or by video through ZOOM (we have iPads that can facilitate this).  This week, our chaplains are also being equipped with the capability to connect virtually with residents via tablets and FaceTime or Jabber, which will enhance the level of support they can provide beyond that of an ordinary phone call.

We understand that family members will be anxious to hear about how their loved one is doing over this lockdown period, so please do let us know what your preferred method of contact is, and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen.  We’re also looking at how we can provide specific clinical updates to families on a weekly basis, but you can contact us at any time if you’d like additional reassurance that your parent or loved one is well and in good spirits.

We hope that all our residents’ families are keeping safe and well and are also getting used to this new way of life, as we unite to eradicate this virus from New Zealand.  As always, if you have a particular query or concern, please don’t hesitate to contact the care manager at the relevant facility at any time.

Update 26 March 2020

Update 26 March 2020

Protecting our residents from COVID-19/Coronavirus

As we have now entered the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown period, with the Government advising that everyone must stay at home to prevent spreading the infection, we wish to assure family members of our residential care residents that our care homes are the safest place for your loved ones to be at this time. 

We appreciate that you will be concerned at the prospect of not being able to see your family member for a number of weeks.  Our villages are currently free of COVID-19 and, by closing our care homes to all non-essential visitors, we are endeavouring to prevent the situation where the virus is brought in from the outside community.  

Our villages and the Selwyn central laundry constitute an essential service, with all nurses, caregivers and support teams continuing to work as rostered and doing all they can to ensure that residents are safe, comfortable and content within our warm and caring environment.  Our teams are working to the Foundation’s pandemic management plan, and we have introduced a wide range of precautions and protective measures as regards our practices and procedures.  Carers are highly trained in infection control; they are equipped with the required personal protective equipment to provide care to vulnerable older people, are screened each day and have their temperatures checked to ensure that they are healthy and free of any symptoms.

We are providing our team members with every support possible at both a professional and personal level.  Key initiatives have been implemented, such as employing our trusted casual Bureau staff on a longer, fixed-term basis to support staffing needs as necessary, and asking colleagues aged 70+ or who have an underlying medical condition to work from home or undertake alternative tasks at home, so that they can protect themselves from the virus.  The Foundation is continuing to look at ways and means of supporting the health and welfare of staff as they deal with the stresses and strains of the current situation, like everyone else in New Zealand, whilst coming to work to provide essential services for our residents.   

In addition, as an organisation, we are following all Government advice and legislation, as well as that of our industry bodies – the NZ Aged Care Association and Retirement Villages Association.  We are sharing knowledge and best practice with other providers within the sector and keeping abreast of developments overseas. Therefore, you can be sure that we are doing everything possible to keep the infection out of our care homes, which will be a safe haven for our residents.

During this lockdown period, should family members wish to receive an update on how their loved one is doing at any stage, do not hesitate to contact the relevant facility care manager.  Families are of course welcome to phone and speak to their relative at any time, and we will also assist with keeping them in touch through the aid of technology.

Thank you for your understanding and support in these unprecedented times.  If there is anything at all that we can help with, please do let us know.

Update 24 March 2020

Update to family members, 24 March 2020

Following yesterday’s announcement by the Government advising that New Zealand has now moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and will be moving to Level 4 from 11.59pm on Wednesday, 25 March, for a minimum of four weeks, we wish to remind families that our care homes are now closed to all visitors except for those whose loved ones are receiving end-of-life care.

It is important that everyone now stays home to reduce their risk of contracting the virus.  Therefore, please can we ask that family members do not come to the care home or expect their loved one to meet with them outside the doors of the facility or in another part of the village site, as this could put our other care residents at risk. 

Our care partners will be able to assist any residents who would like to go out for a breath of fresh air, and we will be providing additional activities and engagement in life programmes to prevent any feelings of isolation or loneliness.  We will also be looking at using technology to keep our residents in touch with their family members, such as video calls.  And, of course, family can phone their loved ones at any point.

We will do all we can to keep this infection at bay and to support our residents during this uncertain time. But everyone has a part to play in this national effort. Please help us to protect your loved ones, our other residents, our staff and New Zealand from the devastating effects of this virus. 

Should you have any particular concerns as to you loved one’s health at any time, please do not hesitate to contact the facility care manager. 


Update 1.30pm, 21 March 2020

Due to the latest update by the Government advising people over 70 and those with compromised immune systems to stay at home as much as possible due to the Covid-19 risk, we wish to advise families that we are now cancelling visiting hours for all our care homes. Our care homes are now closed to all visitors.   

This new safeguard takes effect immediately and applies to all family members – with the exception of close family whose loved ones may be approaching end-of-life.

Please contact your Care Manager, if you would like to discuss the situation as it applies to you and your family member.

We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding given these difficult circumstances, as we work to protect all those in our care from this escalating health risk.

Update 19 March 2020

Update 18 March 2020

Updated 18 March 2020

Advice to families of our care home residents

To help prevent COVID-19 affecting our village communities, we are taking additional precautionary measures to protect our vulnerable residents.

Effective today (18 March), we will be temporarily closing our care homes to all visitors, with the exception of close family members who meet our screening requirements for admission. 

On a practical level, this means that our front entrance doors will now be locked at all times (other secondary entrances were closed last week) and the doorbells are to be used.  We will be speaking personally to each individual family member on their arrival, to enquire whether they have recently returned from any overseas destination or if they are displaying any cold or flu symptoms.

Should people’s health declaration or recent travel history potentially represent a risk to residents, we will unfortunately be unable to admit them to the premises for the time being.  In this event, we will assist in facilitating alternative methods of contact for families.

In addition to close family members, only essential contractors (such as visiting healthcare practitioners and physiotherapists) and chaplains will be permitted entry to the care homes, having been screened on arrival as above to assess their health status, etc.  We have also introduced similar precautions in relation to our permanent and casual staff, in addition to temperature checks.   

Grandchildren will still be welcome to visit, providing they are fully supervised at all times and parents ensure that good hand hygiene is observed.  

Regrettably, friends of our care home residents, non-essential contractors and volunteers will not be permitted access, regardless of whether they are feeling well, have not travelled overseas or have not been in contact with anyone who has recently returned from abroad. 

If family members have recently returned from any overseas destination, or if they have been in close contact with others who have returned from an international trip, we are requesting that they do not visit their loved ones living at Selwyn for 14 days post the arrival date, to make sure no symptoms emerge.  Equally, if they are suffering with cold or flu-like symptoms, they should not visit until they are clear of the symptoms. We encourage people to stay home, avoid public gatherings and events, and cover their mouth and nose when sneezing with disposable tissues and then wash their hands.

Should further prevention measures be necessary in due course, we may decide to reduce visiting hours to the care home, but we will endeavour to give families as much advance notice of this as possible.

Whilst we recognise that families may wish to have their loved ones with them at this time, we would recommend that residents continue living at our Selwyn care homes, as our staff are highly trained in infection control procedures and will continue to provide the highest level of care within the context of our outbreak/pandemic management plans.  

We will be offering additional engagement in life programmes and other activities to support our residents’ sense of wellbeing over this period and to counter any potential feelings of social isolation or loneliness.   

The health and wellbeing of our residents are our primary concern, and we will do our utmost to protect all those who are vulnerable in our care. 

We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops and will review our procedures and advice to families according to the latest Ministry of Health guidance.

If the partial closure of our care homes represents particular difficulties for families, they will be welcome to discuss their specific situation with their relevant Care Manager.