Aged care facility restricts visitors to protect residents

The Home of the Elderly at Mapuifagalele has put in place restrictions on access to the aged care facility as it ramps up efforts to address risks associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Sister Maureen of the Little Sisters of the Poor, who spoke on behalf of the Sister-in-charge Sister Alosia, said they are limiting the number of visitors to the facility but will review that should the situation warrant it due to the recent discovery of COVID-19 cases in Auckland, New Zealand.

She said the only ones who will be allowed to enter will be the Little Sisters of the Poor members and the staff and the restrictions are now in effect to protect the elderly residents.

"Now we are having flights coming from New Zealand to Samoa and some people are coming and going to their families and so for the safety of our old people, we never know if there are people coming from overseas, visiting them and then they come here so that is the reason why we want to the limit the visitors for the moment," Sister Maureen said in a phone interview with the Samoa Observer.

She added that if there are exceptions, in terms of giving a visitor access, it will be done on the condition that they adhere to social distancing rules and the visit will be restricted to the meeting room.

Members of the public, who normally join them for mass at the aged care facility, are also encouraged to go to church services in their own parishes.

"We are going back to the system of taking the temperature, the fever and if they feel they are sick they have to let us know if they feel anything so we have to know it before they come in the house," Sister Maureen added.

All residents at the aged care facility have a scheduled weekly visit by a doctor and all staff have their temperature checked, wear face masks and wash their hands prior to entering the residence.

While the restrictions are in place, Sister Maureen said they will not turn away people who want to assist the aged care facility.

"If they feel like they want to support us, don't feel that we are closing and locking them outside, they are always welcome. They can contact us and if there is anything needed to bring in the house, we can always accept it," she said.

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