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Retirement Village Monitor Checking Industry Preparation For Coronavirus Risk

The risk of coronavirus spreading among independent residents of retirement villages is being addressed by organisations which oversee the industry.

The Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) has spoken with the Retirement Villages Association (RVA) about procedures its members will follow if a resident tests positive for Covid-19.

Troy Churton, the National Manager of Retirement Villages at CFFC, which monitors the industry on behalf of government, said because communities of older people can be more vulnerable to certain strains of disease, including flu-like viruses such as Covid-19, retirement village operators must have policies in place to handle resident safety, including medical emergencies. This is especially important for villages which have aged care facilities on site.

The RVA reported that its members were informing residents who had community contact outside the village of the need to take precautions stay healthy.

In a notice to its members on March 2 the RVA highlighted the need to have processes in place around medical checks “and isolation if necessary”.

“We are working with the Ministry of Health and members to develop any further protocols retirement villages should follow,” said RVA Executive Director John Collyns. “Now that COVID-19 has reached New Zealand, we need to be mindful of the potential impact on residents and, by extension, aged care residents and staff.”

Churton said if residents or their families were concerned they should approach their village operator directly to ask what procedures it would follow if it experienced a case of coronavirus in either the independent living part of the village or the care facility.

Rest home care facilities on village sites come under a different regulatory regime and are monitored by HealthCERT, District Health Boards and the Health & Disability Commissioner. The RVA and Aged Care Association are in separate discussions with DHBs regarding the risk of a coronavirus outbreak in aged care facilities.

For more information about coronavirus and government advice go to www.govt.nz/coronavirus

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