Topic: Minimising the impact of COVID-19 in residential care:the Bolton Clarke COVID-19 Enhanced Resident Protection Measures Strategy

Day: Monday 12 October 2020

Time: 1:50pm-2:10pm AESDT


The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the residential care sector. Bolton Clarke’s proactive approach to preventing and managing the risk of COVID-19 was truly tested when a staff member contracted the virus. Central to our approach is the Bolton Clarke Enhanced Resident Protection Measures (ERPM) Strategy, comprising 31 key focus areas to prevent the entry and minimise impact of COVID-19 in our residential care homes. These procedures are underpinned by three principles: staff representing the highest risk of infection transmission to residents; immediate family/significant others being essential for the provision of holistic care; and vigilant management of the total number of people in the care environment. Policies encompass screening and de-contamination, visitors, residents, suppliers and contractors, non-isolating staff, rostering practices, environmental hygiene, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and clinical practice. Informed by global reports, data and experiences, ERPM implementation commenced in February 2020, with a focus on staff risk. Practices such as stand-down arrangements for international travel, staff screening for exposure, identification of high risk living, transport and work arrangements, and rostering and cohorting of staff began early, driven by an upstream approach to identify factors and chains of transmission

This presentation will demonstrate how Bolton Clarke drew on the unique strengths of the organisation to develop tailored apps to manage PPE stock, and to facilitate screening for staff and visitors; to provide frequent and timely update to resident families and staff, and keep abreast of worldwide evidence-based developments in prevention and treatment.

Learnings will be shared from lockdown of a residential care community after a staff outbreak, and how the safety and wellbeing of residents was prioritised through increased surveillance, continued contact with families, and a targeted lifestyle program.


Wendy Zernike is the Executive General Manager for Care, Innovation and Quality at Bolton Clarke, driving innovation, creativity and best practice in the aged care and community health services sector. Wendy has executive managerial experience, including decades of working in both public and private hospitals and in aged cared. Wendy has post graduate qualifications in leadership and management, and an MBA from Griffith University, where she placed in a Global Business Challenge – a business case competition to design sustainable solutions to global problems.
Wendy brings to the aged care sector extensive clinical governance and consumer engagement expertise, with a focus on developing innovative delivery models in health/aged care, both nationally and internationally. With demonstrated achievements in active community participation, Wendy has led an overseas aid program in the Solomon Islands. She knows first-hand the benefit education brings to developing communities, and the value it creates for individuals and their families.
A passionate nurse at heart, Wendy is a Visiting Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, and mentors the next generation of undergraduate and postgraduate nursing students through the Australian College of Nursing Mentoring Program.