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Residential Care Residents

Update 10 June 2020

Alert Level 1 information for care families

Updated 9 June 2020

As the nation has moved to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 due to there being no known active cases in the country, we’re pleased to advise that we’ve lifted many of the restrictions on visiting that were in place in our care homes. With immediate effect, the following now applies:

  • Restrictions on visiting hours will cease.
  • There’ll be no limit on the numbers of visitors per resident or on the time or duration of their visit.
  • Visitors will still be required to sign into the Visitor Management System at the care home entrance, to answer the health declaration questions within the system, wear their identification label and use hand sanitiser before moving through the care home to see their relative/friend.
  • Visitors will no longer have their temperature taken by a staff member.
  • Visiting can take place in the resident’s bedroom or in a communal area.
  • Visitors can take residents out and off the village site, but will be given a contact tracing form to complete and will be required to hand this back on return.
  • There will no longer be a need for safety officers at the entrance (where that had applied).
  • Visitors will no longer be required to wear a surgical mask whilst visiting.

Our staff will dispense with wearing surgical masks, unless a resident is unwell, but will continue to complete our mandatory Health Declaration Form and have their temperature taken before starting each shift. From now on, all new admissions into the care homes from public hospital or the community will be strictly managed in line with the Ministry of Health’s nationally implemented screening tool, which will identify any potential risk.

The move to Level 1 will enable us to welcome back our volunteers and external activity providers, such as visiting entertainers and guest speakers. In addition, we’re looking forward to resuming any engagement-in-life activities that had to be temporarily suspended during the higher Alert Levels, and have developed specific cleaning protocols to cater for this. All external providers and contractors will need to check in via our Visitor Management System and will be required to provide notification of their intended visit to the Village or Care Manager in advance. We’ll also be reminding them of the need to continue to observe the main infection prevention control measures, such as good hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing etiquette – all the precautions that we’ve become used to and which should form part of our new way of life from now on.

Whilst our worship services have continued on a limited basis throughout the pandemic, with groups of ten residents and under, we’ll now be able to gather together in larger numbers, with communion using previously intincted bread (but not a common cup).

Despite the easing of restrictions, please be assured that we’ll continue to carefully monitor the health of our residents and will keep a close watch to ensure that residents’ condition does not alter at any point. Our staff have received renewed instruction and guidance as to the COVID-19 symptoms and associated illnesses that manifest in older people, so that they may quickly identify any changes that might occur.

Whilst we’re delighted that life is now just about back to normal, we must keep in mind that COVID-19 is still in the world. Everyone should remain vigilant in terms of their own infection control practices and the need to keep a record of our movements and those we’ve been in personal contact with.

As the threat is now diminished, this will be the last of our weekly COVID-19 updates. We’d like to thank family members for their patience and understanding throughout these challenging times, as we worked to provide a safe environment and to protect those in our care. We can now look forward to ‘uniting for recovery’ and getting New Zealand moving again.  

Update 5 June 2020

Update for residential care, friends and families

Updated 5 June 2020

We hope you’re continuing to enjoy life at COVID Alert Level 2. It’s been wonderful to welcome more visitors into the care homes since Tuesday, and our residents and staff teams are very much enjoying the ‘buzz’ and more lively atmosphere with the various comings and goings every day. As it’s two weeks since the last new case of COVID-19 in New Zealand, all the signs are positive around whether the nation will be able to move to Level 1 ahead of schedule.

The Selwyn Emergency Management Team is continuing to review how the transition to the lower Alert Level will be safely implemented within our residential care homes. As Cabinet will decide on Monday, 8 June, about moving to Alert Level 1, we’ll write to you again shortly after that to let you know what that will mean for our care homes in terms of new practices and procedures and the easing of further restrictions around visiting.

Please rest assured, however, that our main goal at all times will be to keep our vulnerable residents safe and protected from the virus, and we appreciate your ongoing assistance in maintaining our COVID-free environments for those we care for. Whilst we’re all looking forward to a move to a ‘new normal’, it’s important to remember that we remain in a global pandemic and there’s still a record number of cases being reported globally. As the Director-General of Health said in his briefing yesterday, this pandemic continues apace outside our borders and we can’t afford to let our guard down, but need to remain vigilant to the threat that the virus poses. 

With this in mind, therefore, we’d like to reiterate that it’s essential for visitors to continue to apply the fundamental hygiene and precautionary measures that have worked so well to date, so we can preserve our safe havens for residents. These include observing strict hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing etiquette, and being mindful of physical distancing when out and about amongst strangers (to reduce the risk of bringing any infection into the care homes). Crucially, even if you feel just slightly unwell, please stay at home and do not visit your loved one, as you could potentially pose a risk to our frail residents as well as to our staff. If you have cold or flu symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline and make sure you get tested.

In addition, we should all continue to keep track of where we’ve been and who we’ve seen, to assist with rapid contact tracing if it’s required. To help with this, we’d like to remind you about the Ministry of Health’s new contact tracing app that’s available to download onto your smartphone. Even just registering your up-to date contact details with the Ministry of Health will be very helpful for both you and Public Health, as well as for the nation’s wider efforts to stamp out COVID-19, should the source of any community transmission need to be traced. For further information on this, please visit the COVID-19 website.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in helping us to keep your loved ones safe over this transitional period. We don’t want to lose the advantage that we have and everything we’ve achieved so far, therefore it’s vital we make sure that we continue to take good health and safety precautions for the sake of all our communities.

Pending the Cabinet decision on Monday, we look forward to writing to you again in the very near future with some further good news around our visiting protocols.   

Until then, stay safe.

Update 29 May 2020

Update to care families

Updated 29 May 2020

Following our recent re-opening to nominated visitors and the Government’s announcement this week about the changes to the maximum number of people who can now attend gatherings, we’re pleased to advise you of some further relaxation of restrictions around visiting that we’ll be introducing from next week.

Whilst we’ll continue with our existing pre-registration, health declaration screening and other precautionary measures for visitors, we’re now in a positon to increase the number of nominated visitors per resident to a maximum of three from next Tuesday (2 June). Therefore, please would activated EPOAs provide their Village or Care Manager with the name of their third designated visitor for inclusion in our visitor management register. Where there’s no activated EPOA, we’ll ask the resident who they’d like to nominate to visit them, and will contact the individuals accordingly. Should a resident be unable to choose, we’ll ask them who they’d like to make that decision on their behalf, and we’ll contact the persons so named.

Nominated visitors will be the only people who’ll be permitted visiting access under our Alert Level 2 precautions (with just one person visiting at any one time), and visiting will continue to be restricted to the resident’s room (meetings are not to take place in the communal areas). Visits will still be by appointment only, with the name of the visitor to be provided to me in advance. Children aged 12 and over are welcome to visit, providing they’re listed as a nominated visitor and are able to comply with the need to wear a surgical mask and limit their movements around the care home.

We’re also pleased to be able to extend visits to one hour. During this time, visiting family members will be able to take their loved one for a short walk within the village grounds, should the resident wish and providing physical distancing is observed in relation to other villagers and their visitors. However, please refrain from entering the communal areas of the village such as the café or lounge areas, to avoid the risk of our care residents coming into contact with those visiting our independent living residents from the wider community.

Hairdressing and podiatry services will be re-introduced from next week. Visiting service providers will undergo our mandatory health screening and temperature checks each time they attend a village, and will observe our hygiene protocols around hand sanitiser and cleaning. They’ll also wear PPE and maintain social distancing as appropriate to the service provided (as regards the number of residents who’ll be permitted in the vicinity at any one time). We’ll be happy to book appointments for residents as required.

With Alert Level 1 being the next stage on our journey out of this COVID-19 situation, we’ll be working on what this might look like for our residential care services so we can move there as soon as it’s safe to do so. We want to be careful to get the balance right between easing our restrictions and ensuring that we can continue to protect our vulnerable residents. We’ll let you know about this once we’re sure we can do it in a way that will safeguard everyone’s health.

Until next time, if you’ve any queries about your loved one’s health and wellbeing, or would like clarification on any issue, please don’t hesitate to contact your Village or Care Manager.

Update 22 May 2020

Update to care families

Updated 22 May 2020

We hope everyone’s been enjoying their new-found freedoms since the introduction of Alert Level 2 last week, and trust that you’re now looking forward to hearing how quickly we can move to the next and final level.

We had a flurry of activity and lots of comings and goings in the first few days of re-opening our care homes to visitors. It was wonderful to be able to welcome families back again and to see the smiles on our residents’ faces as they were reunited with their loved ones. Thank you to all our family members for their patience and cooperation with our various signing-in procedures and visitor management system. Due to the number of visitors arriving, we had a few technical difficulties at times, but these have since been resolved and things have now settled down.

We’d like to remind everyone that only visitors who have been nominated either by the resident or their activated EPOA will be permitted entry to the care home, and one designated family member (or close friend) only may visit at any one time. Visits are by appointment only, with the name of the visitor to be provided to the Village or Care Manager in advance for inclusion in our visitor management register. It’s important that we restrict visitor numbers and carefully manage access to the facility over this period, so we can continue to provide a safe environment for our residents and for contact tracing purposes.

Should any activated EPOA not have provided the Village or Care Manager with the names of the two people who’ll be visiting their family member, please may we ask that you do so as soon as possible. We’ve had a few issues this week with prospective visitors arriving who haven’t been on our list of nominated visitors. This puts staff in a difficult position when they’re unable to grant admission, and is unfortunate for those who’ve made the trip to visit their family member to no avail. Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Level 2 is a transition out of lockdown and we hope that it won’t be too long before we can open our care homes to more visitors and relax our restrictions further, once the Government announces the next steps on the nation’s journey out of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, please do continue with your phone check-ins and Facetime video calls, etc, to your loved ones, which residents very much enjoy and always look forward to. If we can help in coordinating or setting these up at all, please do let us know.

You will have heard about the importance of contact tracing and of keeping a record of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen, as this would be helpful to Public Health in tracing anyone who may have come into contact with the virus. There are many different apps you can use to record your movement. The Ministry of Health has created a tracing app — NZ COVID Tracer. This app works by scanning a QR code on a poster at participating businesses and it then keeps track of where you’ve scanned, so you know where you’ve been. For further information on this visit the COVID-19 website.

Thank you again for all your support and understanding of the precautions and safety measures that we’re continuing to take to keep our care homes virus-free. Alert Level 2 is not a return to normal life, so it's up to each one of us to keep our vulnerable seniors protected from COVID-19. Let’s not undermine the great progress we’ve made so far.


12 May 2020

Updated 12 May 2020

Update for care families, 12 May 2020

Following this week’s Government announcement that COVID-19 Alert Level 2 will start to come into effect from Thursday, 14 May – and further to our update of 8 May (see below) – we’re now writing to all activated EPOAs or nominated visitors of residents, to confirm the new visiting arrangements for our care homes.

To enable us to continue to provide a safe environment for our residents, to manage visitor numbers and to ensure accurate record keeping for close contact tracing purposes (should this be required), visiting times will be restricted and will be by appointment only, and all visitors will be asked to comply with certain health and safety practices. Your Village Manager or Care Manager will provide the specific details for the care home you wish to visit.

The new arrangements will take effect from this Thursday (the 14th).  Whilst they may appear overly cautious, it’s important that we remain particularly vigilant at this time, especially since those in the wider community will be increasing their contact with others as they start to resume their pre-COVID activities and daily routines.  It’s therefore necessary that we maintain a precautionary approach, whilst endeavouring to relax our visiting restrictions to some extent. 

Should any activated EPOA not have provided the Village Manager or Care Manager with the names of those who’ll be visiting their family member, it would be helpful if you could do that at your earliest convenience, so we know who to expect and thus avoid any delays in granting admission to the care homes.

Thank you for your cooperation in adhering to this new system, which is designed purely and simply to protect those in our care and keep them safe from COVID-19.  Please do let us know if you’ve any queries or require any further clarification at all.

8 May 2020

Update to care families

As the nation may be moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 in the near future, we’re now reviewing how the easing of restrictions might apply to our care homes. Residents and family members will be very glad to hear that we’re considering a partial re-opening to close family or friends, but in a way that will enable us to continue to provide a safe environment for our vulnerable communities.

Whilst we’re still to finalise our thinking on how visitor access will be managed, we envisage the following:

  • Visiting hours restricted to certain times, Monday to Sunday
  • Visits by appointment only and within specific time slots
  • Visits of 30 minutes’ duration only (but with no time restrictions for those visiting residents approaching end-of-life stage)
  • A maximum of two family members (or a family member and a friend) to be nominated as visitors for the entirety of Level 2, with visiting restricted to these same two people only for the duration of Level 2
  • Only one of the above designated visitors to visit at any one time
  • Visitors to sign a health declaration at a central point before entering the care home, have their temperature taken, wear a surgical mask that we will provide and sanitise their hands
  • Visiting to be restricted to the resident’s room (meetings not to take place in the communal areas)
  • Physical distancing to be maintained as much as possible
  • The visiting family member would be able to take their loved one for a short walk outside, providing physical distancing was observed.

We appreciate that families will be eager to visit their loved ones after such a prolonged period of time away. However, in order that we can carefully control visitor numbers and maintain our infection-free environment, we’ll only be able to grant access to one visitor per resident at any time. Visits will be by appointment only, with the name of the visitor to be provided to the respective Care Manager or Village Manager in advance for inclusion in our visitor management register.

In line with best practice, and as advocated by the NZ Aged Care Association, residents or their activated EPOAs should designate a maximum of two people to be their nominated visitors for the entirety of the Alert Level 2 period. These named individuals will be the only persons who’ll be permitted visiting access under our Level 2 precautions (with just one person visiting at any one time). With this in mind, therefore - and prior to the commencement of our new visiting arrangements - please can activated EPOAs provide their Care Manager or Village Manager with the names of those they wish to nominate as visitors. Where there’s no activated EPOA, we’ll ask the resident who they would like to nominate to visit them, and will contact the individuals accordingly. Should a resident be unable to choose, we’ll ask them who they’d like to make that decision on their behalf, and we’ll contact the persons so named.

Following receipt of this information, we’ll write early next week to activated EPOAs and those who’ve been nominated as the designated visitors, to confirm the exact visiting times and the specific safety practices and procedures to be observed whilst visitors are in the care home.   

We’d like to thank you in advance for your understanding in this matter and for your cooperation and support, which will help us to keep our care homes COVID-free and to continue to protect the vulnerable residents in our care. If you’ve any queries regarding any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Finally, with Mother’s Day this Sunday, as our care homes will still be operating under our current restrictions, please do continue with all your phone and video calls, WhatsApp messages and other forms of remote communication. We’ll be delighted to facilitate them as required, so that residents and families can connect with one another and enjoy a catch-up with loved ones on this special day.

Update 1 May 2020

Updated 1 May 2020

Update to care families

We’re now into the first week of COVID-19 Alert Level 3, and things continue to go well within our care homes. There are still very firm restrictions in place nationally which are designed to reduce the possibility of the virus getting a stronger foothold within our communities, and we will continue to observe these across our villages.

The Foundation has a duty of care to all its residents and staff, and the thought of the virus entering our safe environments and spreading through our vulnerable community is too dreadful to contemplate. Whilst there may be fewer cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand generally, it hasn’t been eradicated completely, and we’ll now see what the virus will do within the wider community under Level 3. We’re of the belief that this is the danger period – more so than ever – so we won’t be letting our guard down or easing our visitor restrictions prematurely. 

The Selwyn Emergency Management team is currently considering what the lower Alert Levels might look like across the villages, but we’ve not yet determined exactly how things might change. We’ll keep everyone fully informed of any relaxations and easing of restrictions, as soon as we’re certain that we’ll be able to protect everyone’s health and safety to the best of our ability.

In the meantime, our care teams are doing everything possible to make the lockdown easier for residents in whatever way they can. We marked ANZAC Day with commemorative displays, prayers of tribute for those who made the ultimate sacrifice and discussions around what life was like in earlier times, and we continue to hold ‘birthday bashes’ – with families and friends joining by video link.

Whilst our certification audits have been postponed for another year due to the pandemic, the majority of the Foundation’s care homes have now been audited virtually by the DHBs as part of the Government’s COVID-19 review of the aged care sector. We’ve received excellent feedback on all the precautions and guidelines we’ve introduced to manage the situation and on the measures we have in place to respond, should any Selwyn site ever be affected by COVID-19.   

We’ve introduced a precautionary admissions process for new residents coming into our care homes and for our staff who attend to them, and our team members are now also wearing surgical masks as an added precaution (since people may be starting to expand their ‘bubbles’ at home as Level 3 allows). In addition, staff continue to complete a health status declaration prior to starting each shift, which is an important monitoring tool that will alert us to whether we need to put in place further protections for both staff and residents at any stage.

Residents continue to look forward to chatting to their families on the phone, via Zoom, through apps and by all other ways and means. We’re delighted to help make that happen – we have the technology! – so that everyone can keep in touch and hear each other’s news and exciting updates. It means so much. Therefore please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can assist with this at any time.

We very much appreciate your continued understanding and support, as we work to keep this virus out of our safe havens and so protect all those in our care.

Until next time, stay safe.


Update 22 April 2020

Updated 22 April 2020

A message to family members in regards to Alert Level 3

Following the Government’s decision to come out of the Level 4 lockdown next week, we would like to clarify that we do not intend relaxing the restrictions that are currently in place as regards visitor access to the care homes.  We’ll be continuing with the same controls, checking and screening practices as per our Level 4 precautions for the foreseeable future, so we can be certain that we’re doing everything we can to protect our residents whilst the virus is still circulating in the community.  

Having closed our care homes to visitors early on, and introduced other strict preventative measures in how we operate, we’ve been very successful to date in shielding all our residents from the virus and preventing the infection from entering our safe environment.  Therefore, as a responsible provider of services to a demographic that’s regarded universally to be the most vulnerable to COVID-19, we see no reason to lift our controls prematurely or to expose our residents unnecessarily to any threat that exists at a wider level.

The Foundation’s Emergency Management team is now reviewing the Government’s Level 3 guidelines in terms of how they relate to other services in our villages, with a view to potentially re-introducing some of activities that had been temporarily suspended.  However, our care homes will continue to be closed to all but our essential workers - with controlled access for those visiting loved ones in their last days of life - and we will maintain ongoing health checking/screening and close contact tracing in terms of our staffing practices.

As Alert Level 3 will allow some extension of people’s ‘bubbles’, we’ll be introducing as an added precaution the use of surgical masks by our staff when they’re attending to a resident within the recommended two metre distance.  This will commence next Tuesday and is merely an extra measure to protect residents, given that our staff may be expanding their personal bubbles at home and might therefore have contact with an increased number of people in the general community.  We’ll fully explain the reasons for this to residents and allay any fears they might have that COVID-19 may be present in the care homes.  If you would like any further clarification around this, please do let us know.

We know that these restrictions are taxing and that it’s very difficult not to be in physical contact with your loved one for such a prolonged period.  Our safety measures are critically important in the fight against COVID-19 and in our efforts to provide a safe, virus-free home for those you’ve entrusted into our care. Be buoyed by the fact that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and we just need to keep up the effort for a few more weeks for the sake of one and all.

To close, we would like to thank our amazing teams for everything they’re doing to help everyone through the lockdown, providing a stable and caring ‘home life’, a safe bubble and keeping everyone’s spirits up.  We know that residents and families greatly appreciate them, too, judging from the wonderful comments and messages of praise and support we’ve received in the past few days.  As always, if we can help in any way at all – to arrange a phone call or Facetime/video chat, or provide an update on how your relative is doing – please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Stay safe.

Update 15 April 2020

Updated 15 April 2020

Updates for families and friends

We would like to reassure you that, at The Selwyn Foundation, we've taken - and continue to take - every possible precaution to protect the health of our vulnerable residents.

Please click on the attachment below for our latest newsletter: Protecting our care residents from COVID-19: best practice procedures in place at Selwyn


Update 9 April 2020

Updated 9 April 2020

Update to residential care families

As we enter week three of the Alert 4 lockdown period, we’re pleased to report that we continue to remain free of the COVID-19 virus, and our efforts to keep the infection out of our care homes and villages have proved successful to date.

Our wonderful team of staff are doing everything they can to ensure that there’s a sense of normalcy within the homes and are getting on with the usual daily routines and practices, so that our residents feel safe and secure, surrounded by familiar faces and those they know. Staff are also especially focussed on offering an expanded engagement in life programme and on providing a range of enriching and enjoyable activities for residents to participate in, as a counter to any potential feelings of isolation that they might experience. We continue to celebrate residents’ birthdays and other special occasions, with banners, cakes, balloons and general joviality to help compensate for the fact that family are not able to be here. Assisting residents with staying in touch with their loved ones though the use of Apps and IT devices helps keep people’s spirits up, too.

We continue to be particularly vigilant of residents’ health, taking temperatures on a regular basis and closely monitoring for any changes, and we’re also ensuring that everyone receives the influenza vaccination which is important as we approach winter. Although the vaccine won’t protect against COVID-19, it will help protect against contracting flu which can be very serious for older people at this time of the year. If you would like an update on your loved one’s health at any time and on how they’re faring under lockdown, please don’t hesitate to contact your Care Manager. 

We’d like to thank our care teams for all their efforts at this time. The kind acknowledgements and messages of thanks that we’ve received from residents and family members alike have also been greatly appreciated by us all. 

At a wider level, the Foundation has been focussing on how all our Selwyn communities can make the most of their excess spare time and use it productively. You might be interested to know about our new ‘Be well, be kind, be safe’ pages of the Foundation’s website, which you can explore click here and on our dedicated Coronavirus webpages. There are plenty of suggestions and resources for boredom busting, interesting articles and links to podcasts and documentaries, advice on where to find help and support on various issues, tips on staying well, as well as games, ‘how-to’ guides and lots of other fascinating and stimulating content for everyone of all ages. Do have a look and let us know what you think. If there’s anything you think we might add, it would be great to hear about that, too.

In another new initiative, our Chaplaincy team across all the Selwyn villages are now bringing comforting words and messages into our homes through a brief video message each day. Holy Week and Easter are the themes of this week’s reflections and, thereafter, they’ll focus on some broader ideas and aspects of life experience for us to think about. The reflections are available via our website click here, as well as on our Facebook page and YouTube channel (search for ‘The Selwyn Foundation’ or click here. The chaplains hope that both residents and staff will derive some refreshment and encouragement from each ‘thought for the day’.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very safe and stress-free Easter. It will certainly be very different this year. We realise that it’s difficult to be apart from loved ones in such trying circumstances, but we’re sure you appreciate that the range of restrictions in place are intended to protect each one of us who lives or works in our villages.

Should you wish to deliver any items or general supplies for your relative over the Easter period, whilst being mindful of the requirement to stay at home as much as possible, we’ve arrangements in place for you to leave any deliveries within a safe distance, and we’ll then bring them safely to your family member. But rest assured that everyone will enjoy their usual hot cross buns and Easter Eggs regardless, which will be provided in copious supply! Please know that your loved ones are not on their own at this time, but are part of a wider caring community, and we are all here to help and support them in whatever way we can.

Stay safe and well, and be kind.

3 April 2020

Updated 3 April 2020

Update to care home families and friends

Everything continues to go well in our care homes, considering the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in.  We continue to be free of the virus, and residents are adapting well to the lockdown situation and the protection measures we’ve taken to try to ensure that no-one contracts COVID-19.  Our staff are doing a wonderful job in making sure that everyone understands the reasons why families are unable to visit, and there are lots of stimulating things going on in the home for residents’ engagement and enrichment. 

We’re quite self-sufficient and safe in our own care bubble!

As an organisation, we’re also taking great care of our dedicated staff, who are so essential in helping to provide continuity and certainty for residents at a time when their contact with the outside world and families is so much more limited.  We’re incredibly thankful for their expert care of our residents and for their commitment to their profession, and we’re working to ensure that they have all the support and resources they need so they can continue their amazing work. 

We’re continually monitoring the situation at our villages generally and reviewing other possible actions that might need to be taken to manage movements and access.  Elsewhere in the villages, everyone is also continuing to practise the ‘the four do’s of safety’:

  1. Physical distancing
  2. Use of hand sanitiser and good hand washing
  3. Minimising the time spent away from home and only going out for essentials
  4. Reducing contact with hard surfaces in public places.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact your Care Manager if you have any queries about your loved one or need any help whatsoever.  Please be assured that we are here to help in whatever way we can.

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.