Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 Update 13 September 2021

In this issue: Home Care Package Providers must continue services during lockdown; Victorian Health update for Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs); NSW Health update

Date published:
Health sector

Thank you for continuing to stay up to date with the latest information via this newsletter.

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.

Home Care Package Providers must continue services during lockdown

In-home aged care services that are necessary for the health and safety of care recipients must continue to be delivered during periods of lockdown where it is safe to do so and in line with the relevant state or territory public health order. These services may include:

  • Personal Care
  • Nursing
  • Transport (such as trips to essential medical appointments)
  • Domestic Assistance (such as cleaning, washing, delivery of groceries and other essential shopping)
  • Home Maintenance (to ensure safety and security of the premises or clients)
  • Home Modifications (to ensure the health and safety of clients)
  • Goods, Equipment and Assistive Technology (to ensure the health and safety of clients)
  • Allied Health and Therapy Services (such as physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy)
  • Social Support (phone and online-based services only).

During lockdown, providers continue to be bound by the legislative security of tenure requirements. Security of tenure means providers must deliver the agreed care and services for as long as the care recipient needs those services. Providers may only pause or stop delivering home care where the requirements under the User Rights Principles 2014 are met. For more information on security of tenure, providers can refer to the Home Care Packages Program Operational Manual: A Guide for Home Care Providers.

Providers must proactively prepare for potential impacts to service delivery including development of emergency care plans for care recipients. These plans should aim to minimise disruption for care recipients and should be communicated with care recipients and their representatives.

For further information and resources for the aged care sector, including how to report a case of COVID‑19 and contact details for state and territories, please see Advice for the aged care sector during COVID-19.

Victorian Health update for Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs)

The Victorian Government issued updated advice to RACFs, the changes came into effect from 11.59pm 9 September 2021.

The key change to directions for Regional Victoria are as follows:

Prospective residents – regional Victoria (excluding Shepparton)

  • Prospective residents who live in regional Victoria (excluding Shepparton) can visit an aged care facility in regional Victoria (excluding Shepparton). They can be accompanied by one other person who also lives in regional Victoria (excluding Shepparton). The facility must not be in Metropolitan Melbourne or Shepparton.
  • Only one such visit can occur at any one time.
  • There is no limit on the number of prospective residents that can visit over the course of a day.

Prospective residents – Metropolitan Melbourne and Shepparton

  • Prospective residents are not allowed to visit facilities in Metropolitan Melbourne and Shepparton.

For full details please refer to the Guidance on COVID-19 risks for residential aged care facilities for Regional Victoria.

Visitor restrictions remain in place for all of Victoria

Visitors to all Victorian RACFS are only permitted into aged care or other sensitive settings for the following permitted reasons:

  • To provide care and support for the resident’s physical and emotional wellbeing (including mental health supports and support for people living with dementia)
  • As a nominated person under the Mental Health Act
  • As a nominated person providing support for a resident living with Dementia
  • To provide interpreter or informal language support
  • For learning to support the resident’s care upon discharge
  • To provide end of life support.

Visit the Victorian Health website for full details of current visitor requirements for Victorian RACFs.

NSW Health update

The screening advice for residential aged care facilities and home care service providers has been updated for 13 September 2021.

The key messages for this update include:

  • Some areas of NSW are currently no longer under stay at home Orders.
    • Residents in facilities not under stay at home Orders may have two visitors per day provided they do not come from a stay at home area.
  • Aged care residents in facilities under stay at home Orders are permitted to leave the facility to exercise (go for a walk) provided they;
    • remain within 1km of the facility
    • do not interact with other people outside of the facility
    • wear a facemask or carry a medical certificate or other written evidence signed by a registered health practitioner or a statutory declaration by the person saying they have a physical or mental health illness or condition which prohibits them from wearing a facemask
    • are risk assessed by the facility that they are capable of undertaking exercise in a COVID safe way.
  • Aged care residents in facilities not under stay at home Orders:

This information can change rapidly so please check the NSW Health website at least daily for updates.


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