Whiddon has been providing care to older Australians across regional, rural and remote NSW and QLD for more than 70 years. They are an award-winning aged care provider with residential and community care services and retirement villages across New South Wales and South East Queensland. The founding and largest campus is at Easton Park, Glenfield. The campus includes four Care Homes (residential aged care services) as well as a community care hub and retirement village. There are 450 aged care residents on-site, and over 800 staff members providing care at the Homes.
Over a two week period of the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 lockdown from 13th July – 27th July, Whiddon initiated and implemented at Easton Park two weeks of daily rapid antigen testing of employees, which has continued whilst community transmission of COVID-19 remains high. A total of 5,180 antigen tests were conducted over the 2 week period, with 370 staff tested daily – there were no positive results during this time.
Respond Global supported Whiddon Easton Park by supplying the antigen tests, providing implementation protocols, conducting virtual site walkthroughs to determine the best location for testing stations, and staff training in how to administer the tests. Following the successful completion of the trial, we have been appointed to provide the same services to four additional Whiddon sites across New South Wales.
A major outcome of the trial was that staff felt more confident about going to work each day, knowing that they weren’t posing a risk to residents, their families and the wider community. This level of confidence is vital to maintain adequate staffing levels and quality care for residents during high-risk periods. This is especially significant whilst the Single Site Working Arrangements are in place as these have placed much pressure on rosters of aged care facilities with multiple sites.
Whiddon was a recipient of the 2022 Future of Ageing Awards in the Technology – Health and Wellbeing category, and its trials led to the widespread adoption of rapid antigen testing across all aged care services in Australia.