Thank you for continuing to stay up to date with the latest information via this newsletter.
This edition includes information about updated online resources and information for aged care during COVID-19.
Updated public health directions for aged care providers, and visitors to residential aged care facilities in WA, NSW, SA, QLD and ACT are also detailed in this edition. As you will be aware, the situation in Victoria is changing quickly. Updates will be distributed as soon as further directions are available.
This edition also includes a reminder about the National review of COVID-19 outbreaks in Australian Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs).
See also, advice for Community Volunteer Visitors entry into residential aged care facilities and the link to the OPAN vaccine webinar held on 4 February.
Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams and encourage them to subscribe for future updates. You can view past editions of the Protecting Older Australians Newsletter.
Anyone living in an aged care facility, their family or representative who needs support should contact the Older Person’s Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600.
Updated online information for aged care during COVID-19
We have recently published updated and improved COVID-19 advice for aged care providers, aged care workers and people who receive residential or home care to our website.
- The National COVID-19 Aged Care Plan
- How to prepare for and respond to a COVID-19 outbreak
- Advice for older people, carers, workers and services
- Visitor restrictions
- Translated resources.
Visit our new Advice on aged care during COVID-19 webpage.
We have also recently published information on COVID-19 vaccines for aged care on our COVID-19 vaccines webpage.
Western Australian update for visitors to RACFs
The Western Australian Government has updated their advice for residential aged care facilities in Western Australia (Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities Directions No. 6).
Effective immediately, the updated directions apply to all residential aged care facilities in the affected areas of Perth and Peel. The major changes include that a person may now enter a residential aged care facility of an affected area if:
- the person's presence at the premises is for the purposes of a care and support visit to a resident of the residential aged care facility on a particular day; or
- the person's presence at the premises is required for the purposes of performing a Commonwealth aged care regulatory function.
If you have returned from overseas or been informed you are a close contact in the last 14 days or you have any symptoms you must still not enter a residential aged care facility.
All residential aged care facilities outside of Perth and Peel are to follow Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities Directions No.4.
Aged Care Providers are reminded to stay up to date with advice and Directions on the Western Australian Government website and to check for these updates regularly.
Updated NSW directions for aged care providers and visitors
NSW Health advice for both Residential Aged Care Facilities and Home Care Service Providers has been updated as of 12 February 2021. Aged care providers are encouraged to ensure they read the full advice.
- For RACFs this advice can be found online.
- For Home Care Service Providers this advice can be found online.
NSW Areas of Concern
- There are restrictions for visitors, staff and residents of RACFs who have been to any of the locations on the close contact or casual contact list in the past 14 days.
- There are no areas of increased testing in NSW.
Interstate and overseas
Restrict access for people who have been to:
- Any Victorian venues of concern in the past 14 days.
- Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn from 27 January 2021 to 9 February 2021.
- Any person who has been to any Western Australian Locations visited by confirmed cases since 25 January 2021.
- Any person who has been to any contact tracing locations of interest in New Zealand.
All staff and visitors must wear a surgical mask inside RACFs.
Residents of RACFs located in Greater Sydney can now have five visitors a day.
Updated QLD directions for aged care providers and visitors
In Queensland, Aged Care Direction (No.23) came into effect at 7.30pm on 4 February.
- Anyone who has been in Greater Melbourne on or after 29 January 2021 cannot enter a residential aged care facility unless 14 days have passed since you were in Greater Melbourne.
- You may enter a residential aged care facility if you have been in Greater Melbourne on or after 29 January 2021 if you obtain a negative COVID-19 test and are:
- an employee, contractor, or student of the facility
- providing goods or services necessary for the facility’s operation
- providing health, medical, personal care or pharmaceutical or pathology services to a resident
- required for emergency management, law enforcement or to comply with a power or function of a government agency or entity
- a prospective resident or a support person of a prospective resident
- maintaining continuity of care for a resident that can’t be delivered by non-contact means – with permission of the facility’s operator
- attending for an end of life visit.
You may be requested to provide evidence of the negative COVID-19 test when entering the facility.
- If you have been in a public exposure site as listed by the Victorian Government you cannot enter a residential aged care facility in Queensland for any purpose unless you have an exemption for an end of life visit. You must get a COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days.
Updated SA directions for aged care providers and visitors
In South Australia, the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 29) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 came into effect on 12:01am on 11 February 2021.
No person who has travelled from any place other than a low community transmission zone in the last 14 days is permitted to enter or remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility in South Australia.
Updated ACT directions for visitors to RACFs
ACT Health updated advice for visitors to aged care facilities as reflected in the ACT Public Health (Residential Aged Care Facilities) Emergency Direction 2021 (No 2).
From 11:59 on 7 February 2021:
- There are no restrictions on the number of visitors a resident can have at any one time.
- There are no restrictions on the duration of a welfare or wellbeing visit or on the number of welfare or wellbeing visitors a resident can have at any one time. A welfare or wellbeing visit is a visit made to one or more residents of a residential aged care facility for the purposes of providing welfare or wellbeing services.
OPAN COVID-19 vaccine webinar and Q&A
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) hosted a webinar on 4 February to discuss COVID-19 vaccination and provide information to help senior Australians make an informed decision about being vaccinated.
You can watch and share the webinar replay from the OPAN website.
National review of COVID-19 outbreaks in Australian RACFs
As advised in last week’s update, the review will be conducting an online survey and a series of online workshops to provide insights, based on local outbreak management experiences.
The survey is currently being finalised in conjunction with The University of Sydney and is expected to be released to Residential Aged Care Facilities later in February.
Workshops are now scheduled for the first and second week in March when the reviewers will engage with a cross section of representatives of Approved Providers. An invitation to register for one of the workshops will be sent directly to Approved Providers in the next few days.
Community Volunteer Visitors entry into residential aged care facilities
All aged care providers are asked to ensure aged care residents are able to see family and friends, including volunteer visitors from the Community Visitors Scheme, where it is safe to do so.
According to the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 ‘It is also important while some facilities are not permitting general volunteers to return to their duties, that residents maintain access to the Community Visitors Scheme.’
State and territory governments have established directives that set out requirements for visitors and entry into residential aged care facilities.
The directions are available on the following websites:
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Australian Capital Territory
- Northern Territory
- Updated: A collection of resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and health care managers, about coronavirus (COVID-19).
- A collection of resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities, about coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Weekly data snapshot: COVID-19 outbreaks in Australian residential aged care facilities