Date Posted: 30/04/2020
Today, Grant Millard, CEO of Anglicare Sydney, can be quoted as follows:
Contact with Residents
“We would love the relatives of our residents to visit their loved ones at Newmarch House. We are allowing families of those in palliative care some access under strict controls, however, for others we simply cannot afford the risk of further spreading COVID-19. This is a really hard decision for us to make but the consequences of a further outbreak are too awful to contemplate.
“We are now able to arrange for some family members to talk to their loved ones through a window-visit.”
“Anglicare Sydney made the difficult decision on 23 March to lockdown all our homes for the safety and health of our residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the virus entered Newmarch.
“Thirty four (34) residents have had COVID-19. Twelve (12) have died. Also sixty (60) staff are in self-isolation and twenty two (22) of them are COVID-19 positive.”
Communication with families
“There has been criticism that Anglicare Sydney has not been communicating with families. To an extent this is true. We have been under extreme pressure.
“For instance – to maintain social isolation while providing care it takes our staff at least five times as long to undertake a simple task like giving a COVID-19 resident a phone to make a phonecall because of the need to put on and take off the PPE and clean up.
“However, since the outbreak on Easter Sunday, we have made sure we send one email a day to families of our residents at Newmarch House.
“And for every one of our residents who is sadly COVID-19 positive, we have been in regular phone contact, mostly at least once a day, with that resident’s chosen representative – the ‘person responsible.’
“It is very hard, we know, when others in the families are worried about the health of their mother or father, but unfortunately we can only communicate directly with the persons that our residents, or in some circumstances their guardians, have approved.”
“It’s hard to imagine the pressure the staff who are working at Newmarch must be under as they struggle to preserve life and give comfort to the people in their care.
“They are doing an exceptional job and we thank them for this.”
In response to criticisms
“Everyone is under incredible pressure. We really encourage people to allow our staff to do the best they can under extreme circumstances.
“We are having to prioritise our communications amongst our other obligations. Our first priority has been the support and comfort we give our residents. Now, as well as that, we are able to communicate more with families, for instance, by scheduling window-visits.
“Newmarch House continues to manage the COVID-19 outbreak with strong support from the Commonwealth and NSW Governments.”
Public Affairs Manager
0429 569 278