The Australian Defence Force to work with the aged care sector to provide immediate support for staff

The Australian Government has announced that it will deploy up to 1,700 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel to support staff in the aged care sector.

Date published:
Subscriber announcement
Health sector

The ADF will provide immediate support, coordinated in partnership with the Australian Government Department of Health (the Department). It is intended to assist stabilise outbreaks and support staff shortages in residential aged care facilities.

ADF personnel will undertake induction training with healthcare provider Aspen Medical and will deploy four Clinical Support Teams this week.  These teams will comprise nurses and general support staff and complement the current Aspen Medical Standing Teams. A further 6 teams are being readied for deployment from next week.

The Australian Defence Force teams will supplement existing Commonwealth workforce surge measures to ensure more support is available to facilities experiencing outbreaks.

Additional support teams to support providers and staff

The ADF cannot replace skilled aged care workers, however they will assist across facilities including logistics and general duties tasks.

This may include screening of entrants to facilities, providing companionship to residents, supporting with meals and other non-direct care functions to take the pressure off qualified aged care workers and medical staff.

Additional support teams to undertake these general support roles are being established.  Up to 50 personnel to be available in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia from 9 February 2022.  The ADF is ready to expand this commitment to up to 200 personnel in each state and territory, or up to 1,700 personnel if required.

The deployment of ADF personnel to individual facilities will be determined with the Department as part of existing case management and workforce support for RACFs experiencing outbreaks.