Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 update

0
Press Release: Department of Health: 1 April 2021

In this edition:


What’s New

QLD: Updated advice for Queensland aged care providers

While the lockdown restrictions in Greater Brisbane were lifted from midday today, the aged care restrictions implemented in response to community transmission within the Greater Brisbane area are expected to continue for a further 14 days across the state. This means all of Queensland continues to be a restricted area for the purpose of the Aged Care Direction.

For all residential aged care facilities in Queensland, this means:

Visitors

  • No personal visitors, including care and support visitors, are allowed to enter, except for:
    • end of life visits and visits to maintain continuity of care that cannot be delivered by non-contact means, which are still permitted with permission of the facility’s operator.
  • Only people providing an essential purpose will be allowed to enter if they are:
    • an employee, contractor or student of the facility
    • providing goods or services necessary for the facility’s operation
    • providing health, medical, personal care or pharmaceutical services to a resident
    • administering a COVID-19 vaccine to a resident or aged care worker
    • required for emergency management, law enforcement or the exercise of a power or function of a government agency or entity under a law (this includes officers of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission)
    • a prospective resident or a support person of a prospective resident
    • maintaining continuity of care for a resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the facility’s operator.

Any person (other than a resident) permitted to enter a restricted facility must not enter, or remain on, the premises without wearing a single use surgical face mask. A person does not have to wear a mask if it will create a risk to their health or safety.

Residents

  • May only leave the facility to receive health care, attend a funeral or for an emergency or compassionate reason.

Queensland aged care providers can find out more information and are encouraged to stay up to date via the QLD Health website.

Vaccine rollout

Please note that these restrictions will not affect the rollout of vaccines to impacted facilities and teams will comply with Queensland government public health orders including wearing the required PPE to protect residents and staff while administering vaccines.

Single site funding support for COVID-19 impacted areas of greater Brisbane region

In response to the increased number of COVID-19 cases in Queensland, the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer has declared greater Brisbane region as a COVID-19 hotspot. Australian Government grant funding is now available to support aged care providers to implement single site arrangements. This supports the Queensland Government’s Aged Care Direction (No.25) which recommends that residential aged care providers limit their staff to working at one site.

The grant funding will be available for out of pocket costs incurred during an initial two week period, from 30 March 2021 to 13 April 2021. If the hotspot declaration is extended, these arrangements will also be extended.

A reminder that employers should ensure their workers are not financially disadvantaged during this period. Where this results in additional out of pocket costs for the provider, reimbursement can be sought through the grant application process. The Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) grant opportunity remains open until 30 June 2021.

At this stage, SACWIC funding is available to residential aged care providers in the following LGAs:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City

In addition to funding support, providers can also access guidance on practical implementation of single site arrangements, including employee relations expertise, through the Guiding Principles Support Hub website or hotline on 1800 491 793.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Aged care providers are asked to ensure they have a sufficient supply of PPE, to use their own supply of PPE first and to request extra supply as and when needed. If you urgently need PPE and cannot source it, please submit an online application. The application will need to be completed for your request to be considered. The Commonwealth is prioritising requests for PPE from the National Medical Stockpile to aged care services that are most in need.

Further information and advice

Please visit the Australian Government Department of Health website for information and resources to assist in preparing and managing a COVID-19 outbreak including what to do in the first 24 hours of an outbreak in a residential aged care facility.

NSW: Updated screening advice for RACFs and Home Care Services

The screening advice for residential aged and disability care facilities, and home care services has been updated from 31 March 2021, on the following web pages:

Visitors should not enter facilities in NSW if:

Staff working in residential aged care facilities:

  • must not enter the facility if they have been to any of the Queensland contact tracing locations until they have completed their 14 day self-isolation
  • must self-isolate until they receive a negative test and wear a surgical mask until further notice if they have been to:
    • Greater Brisbane areas including Brisbane City, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands
    • any of Queensland’s casual contact locations at the dates and times listed in the last 14 days
    • any NSW locations listed in the current areas of concern at the dates and times listed for 14 days after they have visited the location.

Staff should wear a surgical mask if:

Aged care providers are reminded to stay up to date with advice and Directions on the NSW Government website and to check for these updates regularly.

VIC: PPE advice for home care service providers

The PPE Guidance for residential aged care factsheet has been updated by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. This factsheet provides information about the required level of PPE for staff and visitors at residential aged care facilities in Victoria.

Eye protection such as face shields, goggles or safety glasses is no longer required unless caring for a resident who has or is suspected to have coronavirus (COVID-19), or is a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19).

The following recommendations from the Victorian Department of Health currently apply to home care service providers:

  • It is recommended that staff, contractors and volunteers wear a surgical mask when physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres cannot be maintained.
  • It is also recommended that clients also wear a face mask in these environments.

For more information please refer the Victorian Government’s Public Health orders at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

All States and Territories: Stay up to date

In response to COVID-19 in Brisbane, other States and Territories may have updated restrictions and Directions. Aged care providers are reminded to stay up to date with advice and Directions from their local government via the links below:

COVID-19 vaccine update

More than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to aged care residents

More than 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have now been given to aged care residents, bringing a strong sense of hope for a return to a new COVID safe normal.

Keep up to date with trusted information

You can find more information, including translated information, and subscribe to receive the COVID-19 Vaccines Updates on our COVID-19 vaccines website.

Resources

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams and encourage them to subscribe for future updates. You can view past editions of the Protecting Older Australians Newsletter.

Department of Health

We’ve got plenty more information on all things retirement and aged care here at Aged Care Weekly. Have a browse or sign up for our newsletter.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.