Western Cape health and social development departments have provided update guidelines that are specifically designed for residents and staff of old age ages. Picture: Supplied
Western Cape health and social development departments have provided update guidelines that are specifically designed for residents and staff of old age ages. Picture: Supplied

Western Cape provides updates to Covid-19 protocols for old age homes

By ANA Reporter Time of article published May 22, 2020

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Cape Town - The Western Cape provincial departments of social development and health departments have updated their practical guidelines for the prevention and management of Covid-19 infection in residential facilities, such as old age homes.

According to the two departments, 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 old age homes funded by the provincial government with implementing their infectious disease policy and disaster management plans, whereas the amended guidelines are divided into two main parts. 

Provincial Social Development MEC 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 Covid-19.” 

Provincial Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said 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 prioritised, the health department will conduct targeted screening and testing in old age homes in hotspot areas.”

On a practical level, the two departments have a referral protocol in place for any old age home that reports an infection.

According to Fernandez, social development has also provided additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to all government-funded old age homes. 

“To date, we have issued and distributed 5,000 face masks. We are expecting a further donation of 10,000 more face masks for old age homes.”

African News Agency (ANA)

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