Protecting older Australians: COVID-19 update 1 April 2020

What’s new: Increased investment in meal delivery services for older Australians, New eLearning module on the use of Personal Protective Equipment in Aged Care and Advice for care recipients at home and self-isolated.

Date published:
Health sector

The Minister for Health the Hon. Greg Hunt MP today announced that vital meal delivery services will be the focus of the latest Government funding package to support senior Australians.

Today’s update also has detail on how to access new PPE training for the aged care sector. As always thank you again for your continued support protecting older Australians.

Investment in Vital Meal Delivery Services for Senior Australians

Meals on Wheels and similar services will be reinforced and prioritised, as seniors across the country are urged to follow COVID-19 restrictions and stay home.

A $59.3 million injection will ensure more prepared meals, food staples and essential daily items are delivered to those who need them most.

In total, $50 million will fund 3.4 million meals for 41,000 people for six weeks – the equivalent of two meals a day.

The remaining $9.3 million will be used to buy 36,000 emergency food supplies boxes.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said with older people being asked to limit contact with others as much as possible, meal services were more important than ever.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the National Cabinet’s advice for self-isolation, particularly for those aged over 70, would mean more people will look for support from community food programs.

The latest targeted package of support will:

  • Prioritise home delivery for senior Australians registered with My Aged Care, ensuring direct access to grocery suppliers via online and phone ordering.
  • Ensure the availability of prepared meals and essentials services, with an extra $50 million to support aged care providers, and with more flexibility for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).
  • Work with supermarkets and commercial providers – that have been supporting airlines and the entertainment industry and now have spare capacity – to support Meals on Wheels services.

Senior Australians who are isolated and don’t have access to the internet, will be able to call the My Aged Care contact centre direct for access to basic food and necessities.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said the meal delivery service was another important step in protecting senior Australians from COVID-19.

“The well-being of older Australians remains a priority. We are supporting them so they can remain safely in their own homes,” Mr Hunt said.

Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck said the funding would allow My Aged Care to continue its vital work.

“With the support of Government and community partnerships, we will continue to work towards ensuring senior Australians get the help they need during this difficult time,” Mr Colbeck said.

Read more information about today’s announcement from the PM and Ministers.

Personal Protective Equipment Training

A new eLearning training module is now available for Aged Care workers covering the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Standard precautions are always used in healthcare settings and must continue when caring for individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.  Transmission-based precautions should be used in addition to standard precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

When caring for residents or clients with COVID-19, this means:

  • Contact and Droplet precautions, when entering the room, providing any direct care or support, or cleaning (gown, gloves, surgical face mask and eye protection), and
  • Airborne precautions, when conducting aerosol-generating procedures or caring for individuals who are coughing excessively (P2/N95 Respirator)

Staff working in residential care must change their PPE and perform hand hygiene after contact with any  resident  who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 or when moving from one room to another.

The new training covers in more detail the use of PPE and how to apply and remove PPE in the correct order.

Register and access the training module

If you would like to access the Aged Care training, users will need to register their workplaces as ‘Aged Care’. If you have already registered for online training but not with ‘Aged Care’ as your workplace, email for a priority response.

Aged Care for Care Recipients at Home and Self Isolating

The National Cabinet has asked that older Australians stay at home unless it is for essential purposes like food shopping, medical appointments and exercise. This advice relates to all Australians over 70 years of age; over 65 years of age with existing health conditions; and Indigenous Australian over the age of 50 with existing health conditions.

Australians who are staying at home and meet this criteria should still continue to receive aged care support in the home if eligible. It is vitally important during this unprecedented time that continuity of essential services by providers is maintained and that we all stay connected to the Older Australians in our community.  

A common sense approach is required to ensure the safety of aged care workers and care recipients.

Advice on safe hygiene practices is available on the department's website.

It is also recommended that aged care and healthcare workers undertake the online training module – COVID-19 Infection Control Training.


Training modules

Five modules are available for completion as part of the Department of Health’s eLearning program for Aged Care workers. The training includes Personal Safety, Families and Visitors, Outbreak Management and PPE.

Register and access the training modules

Fact sheets

All Aged Care fact sheets that are publicly available on the Department of Health site are being updated to reflect recent announcements. Thank you for your patience while these updates are processed.

Coming Soon

  • Further information on the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS)
  • Updated FAQs 
  • Workforce continuity measures

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.