Garrawarra Centre’s new COVID-safe visitors room

The Garrawarra Centre has been busily working on ways for residents and their loved ones to stay connected during lockdown. The vulnerable dementia residents at Garrawarra present special challenges when it comes to keeping in contact with their families and friends.

To allow contactless visitations to occur, staff have created a COVID-safe lounge area. The area consists of adjoining rooms divided by a large perspex window. Residents are escorted to one room by a nursing staff member, and visitors who have met current NSW Health screening requirements are accompanied to the other by one of the recreation lifestyle officers. This allows visits to take place in a COVID-safe environment.

Colleen McEnearney, Acting Facility Manager and Director of Nursing, said: “Carers are invited to visit and bring along something to eat and drink, music to listen to together, photos to share and talk about, or flowers from the garden to spend some time with their loved ones while keeping everyone safe."

Family members or carers are now able to contact the Nurse Unit Manager of their resident’s cottage to arrange a time to see their loved one. The lounge is operating from 9:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, with visits limited to 30 minutes.

Jackie Harding was one of the first family members to use the new carers’ room, visiting her husband Ken.

“I give 100 stars to Garrwarra, this is such a positive opportunity to be able to see my husband and I hope more people take advantage of this,” Ms Harding said.

Staff are also providing other activities to support family connections with residents during these times, led by the Diversional Therapy team. Many residents are enjoying using iPads with support from staff, which allows them to communicate with families and friends. Staff are also assisting residents to send video messages to loved ones.
Pictured: Jackie visiting her husband Ken in the new carer’s lounge that provides COVID-safe visits.

Jackie visiting her husband Ken in the new carer’s lounge that provides COVID-safe visits.