Date published: 
10 July 2020
Type: 
Newsletter
Intended Audience: 
Health sector

Today’s edition includes a letter from the Acting Chief Medical Officer to home care and CHSP providers promoting the importance of the flu vaccination for their staff and volunteers. We also remind CHSP providers that emergency funding support is still available.

With Victorians currently dealing with new outbreak clusters, we have included a summary of supports available to senior Australians. The health and wellbeing of all those affected by COVID-19 is our number one priority.

A reminder to all aged care providers to inform the Department of Health when there is a confirmed outbreak. The department will be able to provide support and ensure the required resources are deployed as rapidly as possible.

We are currently seeking your feedback about the information you are receiving and the effectiveness of our communication. Providers and staff have until 24 July 2020 to complete our communications survey. We value and appreciate your feedback.

Thank you to all providers, particularly providers and workers in Victoria who continue to support our senior Australians during this critical time. If you are in Victoria and need assistance, contact the Australian Government Department of Health Victorian State Office on 1800 078 709.

Acting Chief Medical Officer's letter to home care and CHSP providers

The Commonwealth’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, has written to home care and Commonwealth Home Support Programme providers promoting the importance of the influenza vaccination for their staff and volunteers to help minimise the risk to the older Australians they care for.

Read his letter.

Reminder: emergency funding support is still available to CHSP providers

The Department has committed an additional $30.2 million in 2020–21 to help fund short-term support for CHSP service providers to continue delivering services to older Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Grant Opportunity Guidelines for this emergency funding opportunity are available to download from GrantConnect.

CHSP service providers who have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to apply for additional temporary funding if required to:

  • maintain and expand direct service delivery to meet changing community demand
  • retain key home support staff
  • cover the increased cost of safe and effective service delivery

Before applying for emergency funding, CHSP service providers must have fully allocated their existing 2020–21 base funding and any unspent 2019–20 funds (which may now be carried forward into 2020–21), including through the relaxed flexibility provisions. The flexibility provisions allow CHSP service providers to re-distribute their existing base funding across all of the service types and aged care planning regions identified in their grant agreement and activity work plan in 2020–21.

For providers who are eligible to apply for emergency funding in 2020–21, you are encouraged to complete an application form outlining how you will use the additional funds to meet the objectives and intended outcomes of the grant round. Applications must be completed and submitted to CHSPprogram [at] health.gov.au.

For more information about this funding opportunity, please download and review a copy of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines or contact your Community Grants Hub Funding Arrangement Manager.

Support for seniors in Victoria during COVID-19

The health and wellbeing of senior Australians, especially those in Victoria during this time, is a priority.

A range of supports are available to all seniors to assist them during COVID-19. Providers are reminded to encourage their clients, particularly in Victoria, to access these supports if and when needed. Supports include: 

  • assistance with food and meals including prioritised online grocery ordering and urgent referrals to meal providers
  • access to MBS telehealth services so senior Australians can talk to a GP or other allied health professionals without having to leave home
  • home medicine delivery through pharmacies, enabling people to have prescriptions delivered to their home
  • Community Visitors Scheme to support senior people receiving home care or residential care who may be feeling more isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic through phone and virtual friendships
  • The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line (1800 171 866), which provides information and support to senior Australians, their families and carers
  • Friend Line telephone support service (1800 4 CHATS or 1800 424 287), which offers a free and anonymous telephone service that provides senior Australians with the opportunity to chat with a volunteer
  • TIS National for people who do not speak English and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients

Please inform your clients and care recipients about these supports, as well as senior Australians who may be your friends, neighbours or family members so that everyone is aware of the supports available.

Reminder: who to contact if you have a positive COVID-19 case

A reminder that the department needs to be immediately notified in conjunction with your state health department when there is a confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 in an aged service.

The department will appoint a case manager who is the Australian Government's single point of contact for the aged care service. The case manager will connect you with resources to manage the outbreak. Resources include PPE, surge workforce and supplementation, testing in residential aged care facilities, and access to primary and allied health care.

The email address to notify of a confirmed case is: agedcareCOVIDcases [at] health.gov.au.

Reminder: communications survey

The department is seeking your feedback on what information you would find most helpful as we continue to respond to COVID-19.

The survey can be completed by anyone with an interest in the aged care. All participants are welcome to forward the survey link to others who may be interested in participating.

All questions are voluntary and the survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. The survey is anonymous and will not collect personal information.

We would greatly value your feedback with the survey open until 24 July 2020.  A link to the survey can be found here.

Resources

Coming soon

  • Provider perspective on outbreak management
  • Updated fact sheets