Murray Haven Homes is home to 52 wonderful residents. They live here in the knowledge of being cared for, safe and being able to expect excellent care and attention.

From a Board and Management perspective it has been extremely disheartening to see reports of poor treatment in Aged Care Homes. Some of these were highlighted during the Royal Commission into Aged Care (which is continuing) and now under the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Stories about a lack of care and a lack of contact to loved ones have been hard to read. On this point I do understand some frustration with making calls to Murray Haven in relation to our current phone system. We are working on this and are putting new technology in place. COVID has made this a little more difficult but progress is being made. I do apologise for this inconvenience. A combination of old phone system, new extension, NBN and COVID have all contributed to this.

Murray Haven want to share with families, and the wider community what initiatives we have been taking. Someone recently said to me that we have been lucky that there has not been an outbreak in this area. I do not put it down good luck, but a good management regime that has been committed to by all staff.

There has been comment that staff at Murray Haven are able to mix in the local community. Whilst this is true, each staff member does commit to coming directly form home to work at the commencement of each shift and they do not leave until the end of a shift. All staff at Murray Haven have been amazing right through this pandemic and the dedication and commitment shown is something we, as a community, should be proud of.

Each staff member, visitor or contractor that enters Murray Haven is screened and has their temperature taken. Every staff member has had a current flu vaccination. They complete a questionnaire and make a declaration on their health. This has been in place since this pandemic began. No staff member is permitted to work in two locations which has come at a cost to these people, both economic and socially. Staff who need to test for COVID are not permitted to be at work until they receive their results back, again for some this comes at a financial cost.

We have lost in excess of 50 shifts as staff wait for results. There have not been any positive results and staff are been committed to having tests done under the current guidelines. They are all to be congratulated for this.

Murray Haven have been subject to an audit on our current infection control processes and our compliance with the visitor guidelines and in both instances, we were highly commended for the controls and access in place.

For the information of readers, the border communities on the Victorian / New South Wales border are now declared high risk zones by NSW health. This has resulted in Murray Haven having to limit visits, and not allowing any Victorian to enter the centre to visit. And this is supported by the border pass system. Whilst I understand the frustration this causes it is viewed as a measure to assist in keeping our residents and staff safe and stopping COVID into the community.

Murray Haven receives daily updates on what processes need to be addressed and any changes to Government Directions which we must follow. The COVID folder on my desk grows by the day.
The next change that we have been directed to make is the mandatory wearing of face masks. I have placed an order with Department of Health, and these will be here this week. It is anticipated that we will go through about 180 per day plus we have staff who are making them as well. Whilst we know this will be disconcerting for some in the community, including our residents we will involve them where possible and have mask parades and other novelty events. Note that the wearing of masks does not extend to residents, and nor are there any lock down orders.

It is also important to note that as of midnight on Sunday face masks are now mandatory to wear throughout all of Victoria.

There is no easy fix and certainly no definitive end date as to when we might be “back to normal”, what ever that may look like, but we are committed to following the rules and maintaining the good regime that has been established.

We appreciate the support of the community and do look forward to the day when families and volunteers can be part of Murray Haven once again.

Gary Kairn CEO