Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) statement on the national COVID-19 response for residential aged care facilities
AHPPC recognised early in the COVID-19 pandemic that residents of RACFs were particularly vulnerable, and at risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Accordingly, the health and wellbeing of this population has been in the deliberations of the AHPPC throughout the pandemic.
This statement has been archived.
AHPPC recognised early in the COVID-19 pandemic that residents of residential aged care facilities (RACFs) were particularly vulnerable, and at risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Accordingly, the health and wellbeing of this population has been in the deliberations of the AHPPC throughout the pandemic.
Key national statements and guidelines reviewed and endorsed by the AHPPC relating to aged care are as follows:
- CDNA guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities (first published 13 March 2020 and updated twice – on 30 April and 14 July 2020)
- AHPPC coronavirus (COVID-19) statement on 17 March 2020 – ‘Recommendations to Residential Aged Care Facilities’ (published 17 March 2020)
- ICEG guidelines on environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for health and residential care facilities (published 26 March)
- ICEG guidelines for infection prevention and control in residential care facilities (published 2 April 2020 and updated on 24 July 2020)
- AHPPC advice on residential aged care facilities (published 22 April 2020)
- AHPPC update to residential aged care facilities about minimising the impact of COVID-19 (published 19 June 2020)
- ICEG guidance on the use of personal protective equipment by health care workers in areas with significant community transmission (published 30 July 2020)
- ICEG guidelines on cleaning and disinfection of face shields (published 30 July 2020)
While the AHPPC has endorsed plans relating to aged care, and their revisions, jurisdictions implement these plans within the context of their own epidemiological and system contexts.
To further strengthen preparedness for rapid response to future COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care, on Friday 7 August National Cabinet agreed to the development of joint Commonwealth–state/territory plans to boost aged care preparedness and rapid response.
To complement emergency response planning, a guide to establishment of an aged care health emergency response operations centre has also been developed, based on lessons learned from the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre and COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care across the country.
A time-limited AHPPC Aged Care Advisory Group will be established to support the national public health emergency response to COVID-19 in aged care. The Advisory Group will bring together expertise about the aged care sector, infection control, emergency preparedness and public health response.