14 September 2020
“The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission remains strongly engaged with aged care services experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 and is exercising all of its powers as the aged care regulator to ensure the safety of residents and staff.
The outbreak at St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Victoria has been devastating for residents and families, and the Commission has been working intensively with the approved provider of the service which operates under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
Following its third monitoring visit to St Basil’s since early August, the Commission concluded on 11 September that it is satisfied that the St Basil’s service is ready to deliver safe, quality care and services and that the process of gradually returning residents to the service could commence from this week.
The Commission took regulatory action on 26 July in relation to St Basil’s following concerns about the serious impact of the outbreak on the residents and staff. The terms of the regulatory action included that the approved provider appoint an independent adviser and immediately implement and comply with all advice, recommendations and directions of Victorian local health authorities to assist with the clinical response to the outbreak.
In order for residents to return to the facility, St Basil’s was required to demonstrate that it was capable of providing safe, quality care and services that complied with the Aged Care Quality Standards. This has involved extensive work at the facility, including comprehensive deep cleaning of the site, and the provision of infection control education by independent experts for all staff who have now returned to work from self-isolation after obtaining the required public health clearances.
It is also noted that His Eminence Archbishop Makarios announced on Friday 11 September that he is appointing a new Chairman of St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Victoria following the resignation of the current Chair.
In light of the above actions, the Commission has agreed that the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre should commence the process of facilitating the return of residents to the St Basil’s facility. From this week, a team from the Centre will start to contact residents, or their representatives, to discuss repatriation options.
Residents from St Basil’s and their families have been able to access support from the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) on 1800 700 600 during the outbreak.
The Commission will continue to monitor the care and services provided at St Basil’s including through the continuing role of the independent adviser appointed at the service, and other regulatory functions.
If there are concerns about the care of residents or the actions of specific aged care services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, complaints can be made via the Commission’s website: www.agedcarequality.gov.au or by calling 1800 951 822.”
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