It is vitally important that we all remind our aged care workforce how grateful we are for the care and support they are providing to all care recipients. They are highly valued and the skills, knowledge and compassion they bring is so important, particularly during this unprecedented time.
New in this addition, the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians and Minister for Youth and Sport’s announcement regarding additional measures to support your workforce in the event of an outbreak — if your staff are in quarantine or in isolation due to COVID-19. Detailed FAQs are attached to today's newsletter to assist providers in understanding eligibility criteria for this new assistance.
Included is also advice on the best way to seek this and other assistance if you are experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak or incident.
As always, many thanks to you and your teams for your continued support to protect older Australians.
Aged Care Workforce Measures
On Sunday, the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians and Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator Richard Colbeck announced additional workforce contingency measures to ensure continuity of aged care during COVID-19. The measures include:
- New emergency response teams (through Aspen Medical) on standby if there’s a significant outbreak in a residential aged care facility
- Remote locums (through Aspen Medical) to support aged care providers in remote Australia if they are unable to source staff
- Access to a surge workforce through the online platform Mable, to help providers if they’re unable to fill critical skills because of infection or staff have to self-isolate.
Read the Minister’s media release.
Reminder to Workers: Take care of yourself to take care of others
It is important during this time that you remember to take care of yourself. If they are not feeling well you should stay home until you fully recover so you can continue to provide the vital care you are giving to senior Australians during these unprecedented times.
If you become unwell, even mildly unwell, it is important that you stay at home and not go to work. You should notify your employer immediately.
If you provide direct care, you need to be tested for coronavirus at dedicated testing facility if any of the following apply:
- you have a fever (≥38°C) or history of fever (for example, night sweats, chills)
- you have symptoms of an acute respiratory infection (for example, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat)
- you have been overseas
- you have had close contact with a confirmed case
You must isolate at home until you receive your results and keep your employer updated on your health status.
If you are concerned about your pay while you are not at work, talk to your employer about what might be available for you.
For more information on what you should do, please visit the Department of Health’s website at Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for the health and aged care sector.
The fastest way to access Commonwealth support in the event of an outbreak or an incident
The Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission are actively working to support providers. If a provider has a case or outbreak of COVID-19, it is critical that they report to their Public Health Unit and also inform the Commonwealth Department of Health at firstname.lastname@example.org. A Commonwealth departmental officer will be in contact to offer case-by-case assistance and support to help you manage the case or outbreak. Don’t wait until it's too late.
This is the fastest pathway to access Commonwealth support. Assistance available to you ranges from accessing more staff if you have staff off work being tested for COVID-19 or in isolation due to infection, to accessing PPE if you have an outbreak or an incident.
- Information on how to access medical support and medicine from home
- Wednesday 15 April End of Life Directions for Aged Care in Residential Care
- Friday 17 April COVID-19 and ACP Webinar for Healthcare & Hospital Services Professionals
- Training modules for Aged Care workers — New module: Laundry
- Detailed FAQs regarding the workforce measures
- CHSP FAQs
- Info on accessing Supplementary Grants
- Further advice on Flu Vaccinations