COVID-19 vaccine aged care readiness toolkit

Information to assist residential aged care providers prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Residential aged care residents and workers are among the first people in Australia to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine.

As a residential aged care service provider, you have an important role in ensuring a safe roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines to the community.

You are required to:

  • prepare your facility, staff and residents for vaccination day
  • obtain and record residents’ consent
  • monitor and report adverse events
  • provide information to your residents and workers.

A range of resources are available to assist residential aged care facilities, workers and residents prepare for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines to aged care facilities.

Prepare your facility, workers and residents for vaccination day

The following resources are available to help you plan and prepare for COVID-19 vaccination in your facility:

  • Planning checklist for vaccination day – a checklist for residential aged care facilities to work through in preparing for the vaccination clinic. This covers:
    • planning
    • logistics
    • staffing
    • communication
    • consent
    • supporting residents on the day
    • GPs and allied health.
  • Clinical governance requirements – steps out the roles and responsibilities of the residential aged care facility and the vaccine workforce, in planning and preparing for the clinic, on the day of the clinic, and after the clinic.
  • Consent in the residential aged care context – sets out considerations for consent in the residential aged care context, including:
    • supported decision-making and substitute decision-makers
    • links to the consent form
    • information that has been developed for all Australians.
  • Consent process flow chart – sets out the consent pathways and the assessment of residents’ clinical suitability for the vaccine, ahead of time and on the day.
  • Site readiness checklist – a checklist for the physical clinic set up.
  • What to expect on vaccination day – an information sheet for residents, families and carers outlining what to expect in the lead up to, and on the vaccination day.

Obtain and record resident consent

You are responsible for coordinating processes for resident consent. This process needs to be completed ahead of the vaccination day.

As with all other vaccines, informed consent is required before administering each COVID-19 vaccine dose. Guidance on consent in the residential aged care context can assist with this process. Written consent is not mandatory, but it is preferred for residential aged care.

The Australian Government has prepared a written consent form.

You should ensure you provide residents and/or their representatives with detailed and accurate information on COVID-19 vaccination. Provide the following patient information sheets to potential recipients:

They should receive these written resources prior to vaccination day.

For more information about valid consent, refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook – Preparing for vaccination – Valid consent.

Some jurisdictions have specific requirements relevant to guardians (or substitute decision-makers) consenting on behalf of another person.

Substitute decision-makers should refer to relevant state and territory laws for more information.

Monitor and report adverse events

Residents should be monitored after vaccination for any side effects. These are usually mild and include:

  • pain or swelling at the injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever
  • joint pain.

 

These side effects usually go away within one or two days. If residents experience pain at the injection site or fever, headaches or body aches after vaccination, they can take paracetamol or ibuprofen. These help reduce the above symptoms (they do not need to take paracetamol or ibuprofen before vaccination). If there is swelling at the injection site, they can use a cold compress.

Suspected side effects can be reported to the vaccination provider or other healthcare professional. They will then make a formal report on the patient’s behalf to the state or territory health department or directly to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

If they would prefer to report it themselves, please visit the reporting suspected side effects associated with a COVID-19 vaccine webpage on the TGA website and follow the directions on the page.

Provide information to your residents and workers

A suite of resources and information is available to help you communicate with your workers and residents about the COVID-19 vaccine program.

You should ensure your workers and residents can access information in a way that is easy for them. You could:

  • display posters and information sheets in prominent areas on site
  • email workers and resident representatives
  • post information to your social media channels
  • place articles in your newsletters.

Resources

The following resources are available to help you plan and prepare for COVID-19 vaccination in your facility:

The following resources are available to help you communicate with workers and residents:

National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline

If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call the telephone number listed below. This number operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

View contact

Last updated: 
23 February 2021

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