Warrigal Trials Special Care Unit

As Warrigal continues to focus their efforts on protecting their residents, staff and community from exposure to the COVID-19 virus, a 2-week trial of their Special Care Unit (SCU) has officially commenced.

This initiative was developed by Warrigal’s COVID-19 Management Committee that has continued to meet and monitor the challenge of managing an outbreak in a residential care environment. The idea behind the SCU was not to replace the need for hospitalisation where appropriate, but rather represents the extent of Warrigal’s plans to prepare for the possibility of an infection or outbreak as has been experienced in other locations. 

Although there are still no confirmed cases of the virus at Warrigal, with community transmissions an ongoing concernparticularly the growing number of new COVID-19 cases in Victorian nursing homes, Warrigal has continued to remain vigilant with their practices, and have implemented strict screening procedures to prevent or minimise the virus from entering their homes.

The SCU is located in Warrigal’s Warilla location, and is operating and completely separate to the rest of the Residential Care Home. The 22-bed unit is designed to isolate any customers from Warrigal’s care homes, home services or villages with COVID-19 who are unable to go to the hospital but need to be isolated and receive additional care.

Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell said, “Ensuring Warrigal can respond rapidly in the event of a COVID-19 health emergency is a priority. We want to be able to provide care and isolate any confirmed cases, and the establishment of this unit will enable us to maximise isolation measures and give the best possible protection to our residents, clients and staff.”

“The unit is an addition to our usual robust infection control practices; we hope to learn a lot from this trial that will assist us in reducing any risk to the people in our care.” he said.

As well as being experienced in treating people with infections, the SCU is staffed by those who have expressed a direct interest to proactively care for older people who are facing this new health challenge. Working in 12-hour shifts with accommodation provided, all staff working in the unit have been given additional training, support and personal protective equipment.

“Even as we are trying to navigate through this strange and difficult time, the creation of the Special Care Unit would not have been possible without the level of commitment and dedication of our staff, who have put in all the hard work behind the scenes to make this happen.”

“This is way beyond the normal level of preparation than you would normally see in any aged care home and I am proud to say that this initiative is one to be celebrated by our staff – who have all worked together to achieve the same goal to protect our community.” Mark said.

Although only one unit has been established in the Illawarra, should the need arise a second would be considered for other locations.

Warrigal aims to take any learnings from the trial to be able to better facilitate and understand the demands of working a Special Care Unit, as well as being able to mobilise a specialised workforce at a moments’ notice. If you would like further information or are interested in working in Warrigal’s Special Care Unit, contact Warrigal on 1800 927 744.

The SCU at a glance:

  • Residents - Families of ‘patients’ taking part in the trial have given their consent for their loved ones to take part
  • Staff - The SCU is staffed by a mix of existing Warrigal employees spanning across several Warrigal locations and a small number of new recruits
  • Training –20 staff members spent 3 days of intensive clinical and team building training
  • On shift – All SCU staff have been trained to remain on high alert and follow strict policies and procedures as if the ‘patients’ have the virus
  • PPE – Staff are dressed and work in full PPE at all times while on shift
  • See Warrigal’s Facebook page for a glimpse of the Special Care Unit: @WarrigalCommunities

 Media Enquiries: Elsbeth Olalia | Community Relations | M +61 (4) 3665 5808


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PO Box 435 Albion Park, NSW 2527
Email: warrigal@warrigal.com.au
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