Protecting Older Australians – COVID-19 Update

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Press Release: 4th June 2021

In this edition


Victorian aged care COVID-19 zoning and wayfinding advice

Reminder: the Victorian Government Department of Health has produced residential aged care facility COVID-19 advice for assisting with zoning and wayfinding:

These documents are available on the Victorian Government Department of Health Infection Prevention Control webpage, under Aged Care, together with a range of other useful infection prevention and control resources.

If you have any questions about this content, please contact the Victorian Government Department of Health Infection Prevention Control team via email at: COVID19InfectionControl@health.vic.gov.au

NSW: Updated advice for residential aged care facilities and home care services

NSW Health has updated advice as of 2 June 2021 for residential aged care facilities and home care services. Key updates include:

  • There are close and casual contact locations in Southern NSW  
  • The state of Victoria is currently considered an affected area and there are new places of high concern
  • Staff who have been to Greater Melbourne and the Greater City of Bendigo in the last 14 days are excluded from residential care facilities and working as home care service providers.
  • NSW aged care providers can stay up to date with the latest information from NSW Health.

ACT: Updated advice for high risk settings

The ACT Chief Health Officer has issued an updated alert regarding the COVID-19 situation in other Australian states and territories. Please read the 2 June 2021: CHO alert for new information, the key information includes:

  • Following the new exposure sites identified in NSW, new requirements for wearing masks while working or visiting a high-risk setting for anyone who has visited the Goulburn Mulwaree, City of Shoalhaven and Jervis Bay Territory LGAs since 23 May 2021
  • Anyone who has been in a geographical area of risk should not visit or work in high-risk settings, including residential aged care facilities, for 14 days since leaving these areas.
  • Anyone who is in quarantine cannot enter an aged-care facility. This includes:People who have been overseas
  • People who are close contacts of a confirmed case. This may include people who attended specific venues on the same date/time as a confirmed case.
  • Anyone who is under a stay-at-home requirement should not visit or work in a high-risk setting unless it is for an approved essential purpose.

ACT aged care providers can find out more information from ACT Government.

Grief and trauma support for the aged care sector

A reminder that with Victoria’s recent lockdown, people living, working and caring in the aged care sector may be experiencing grief and trauma due to the lockdowns. They may have past trauma that is triggered by lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions, as well as feelings of grief reacting to the loss of experiences, events, people and routines important to them.

The Australian Government has invested in a Grief and Trauma Support Program to help those impacted by COVID-19 across the aged care sector to provide:

We understand the serious emotional and psychological trauma that COVID-19 has had on people living in residential aged care, as well as their loved ones, and the staff providing care and support.

Grief and trauma comes in many forms

Many people may be suffering grief from the death of a loved one due to COVID-19. Grief can also be experienced without involving death. Many people living and working in aged care facilities who didn’t have COVID-19 outbreaks may be still feeling grief caused by the lockdowns and social distancing. This kind of grief could be from missing visitors, experiences, pets, routines, and loss of important life events. People in and around aged care may also be experiencing trauma as a response to traumatic incidents, isolation, physical distancing, COVID-19 hotspot lockdowns, ongoing uncertainty and visitor restrictions.

Free grief loss and trauma support

This grief, loss and trauma support is free and available nationally for aged care residents and home care recipients; their families, friends, family of choice, loved ones, community visitors and representatives. Please also encourage your aged care staff to make use of the support services and resources, including videos, guidance and self-care strategies.

More information

A brochure and poster raising awareness of the supports available for download are on the Department’s grief and trauma COVID-19 support services page.

Phoenix Australia, who are experts in post-traumatic mental health, have developed several fact sheets for older people, people living with dementia, older veterans, family and loved ones, and aged care workers. The fact sheets address trauma, loss and grief, and self-care. They are available in English and a range of languages on their trauma and aged care – support and information hub.

For more information, contact ageing.and.diversity@health.gov.au.

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