Covid-19: old age homes, care centres stop visits to safeguard elderly
The Association for the Aged (Tafta) chief executive Femada Shamam said following the announcement of stringent measures by government, they made difficult decisions to safeguard the elderly in their care.
“Our homes will no longer be open to any visitors, including immediate family members of elders. We will sadly no longer be accepting donations of prepared meals with immediate effect due to the potential risks involved. We truly appreciate the kindness shown to our elders, but during this time, we ask that donations of food please be restricted to non-perishables such as canned goods and long shelf-life products only,” Shamam said
She added that hand sanitisers had been placed at entrances and all other areas of risk.
Shamam said Tafta did not have any confirmed Covid-19 cases and had communicated precautionary measures to ensure that elders who had travelled overseas recently were put in self-isolation.
“These elders will be supported by the care team with their needs such as purchasing of groceries and will remain in quarantine for the recommended period. We have implemented measures to restrict visitor access to our elders at Tafta buildings for the lockdown period or however long it takes for us to be safe once more,”Shamam said
“The care team have been properly debriefed on protocol to follow and have communicated precautionary measures to our elders. Our elders are aware of risks involved in daily exposure and are being assisted with queries regarding the virus.
‘Residents are calm and entrust the care team at the homes to support them if and when the need arises.
Major Frankie Burgoyne from Thembela Home for the Aged said they had implemented strict measures to protect the elderly.
“We have asked our staff to sleep over for the period of 21 days and there are no visitors allowed, to minimise social contact. We have also moved our dinning rooms around and reduced the number of tables for social distancing purposes,” Burgoyne said.
“We have sanitisers everywhere, we will do shopping for all the residents and help withdraw their social grants for them.”
Burgoyne said the residents would only be allowed to go out if they needed medical care.
He said the home was appealing for assistance as it would have to incur further costs in order to accommodate staff who had to remain on the premises.
“We ask families of the elderly who are in our care and anyone who is willing to donate, to drop off whatever they can,” she said.
Sfiso Ngidi, general manager at the Issy Geshen Lamont Home for the Aged, said they had been educating staff and the elderly in their care about hygiene.
They had also stopped visits and had provided hygiene products.
“The immune systems of the elderly can often be compromised, so we are giving them vitamins to boost their immune systems and we have sanitisers, masks and gloves,” said Ngidi.
“Our staff have showed loyalty and suspended their leave, since we can’t close and the old people need 24-hour nursing care.”
KZN Social Development spokesperson Mhlabunzima Memela said the department took a decision to suspend outside visits to the homes and had provided sanitisers and other equipment, and had ensured that social workers were trained to deal with the pandemic.