Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 Update 15 November 2021

What's new: Aged Care Emergency and Crisis Management Training Program 2021, WA Health seeks feedback from IPC Leads on new IPC Guidelines and more.

Date published:
Health sector

Aged Care Emergency and Crisis Management Training Program 2021 – Group and 1-2-1 Mentoring Now Available

A reminder that the Aged Care Emergency and Crisis Management Training Program 2021 is now available and is free for all participants.

RiskLogic and First 5 Minutes, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, have developed a tailored program targeted at aged care provider senior leadership, to cover core aspects of risk and emergency/crisis response preparedness.

The Program combines a series of self-paced eLearning modules and group-based/1-2-1 mentoring to help you build or strengthen emergency and crisis management leadership skills. This can help better prepare your organisation to maintain the delivery of safe and quality care in challenging situations.

The mentoring component of the program has now commenced; with around 60 participants having participated in a webinar to date. Feedback on the webinars has been positive and further sessions have been made available in November, with the registration page now open for sign-up.

The group mentoring sessions aim to provide participants with an opportunity to build on the foundational theory presented in the online training, with a focus on drafting a Resilience Policy and Framework.

The webinar sessions will include discussions on the:

  • importance of effective governance structures
  • role of the governing body or individual
  • key elements of organisational resilience
  • implementation and embedding of a resilience policy and framework

1-2-1 sessions with a crisis management practitioner will then be made available for group mentoring participants. This will allow you to take advantage of RiskLogic significant crisis management expertise and apply it to your own organisation’s unique circumstances.

For those yet to register or complete the online module training – it’s not too late!

You can still visit the RiskLogic website to find further information and sign-up.

WA Health seeks feedback from IPC Leads on new IPC Guidelines

The Western Australian Department of Health (WA Health) has developed new Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Guidelines for Western Australian Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs).

The draft document provides IPC advice for WA RACFs. It has been prepared to support WA based IPC Leads and outlines key IPC responsibilities.

WA Health is seeking feedback on the consultation draft from WA based IPC Leads regarding the usefulness of the resource and any suggestions on how it could be improved.

WA based IPC Leads can contact for further information and/or to receive a copy of the draft document and provide feedback.

Queensland Health - Vaccine requirement for in-home care workers

On 10 November 2021, the Queensland Government released the Workers in a healthcare setting (COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements) Direction.

The Direction sets out mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for workers, students and volunteers in healthcare settings.

The definition of 'healthcare setting' includes residential aged care facilities and aged care services funded by the Australian Government and delivered in the home.

The Direction requires that by 15 December 2021, workers must have received their second dose of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine to enter, work in, or provide services in a healthcare setting.

The Residential Aged Care Direction (No.10) continues to apply for workers in residential aged care facilities. The new Direction does not override or extend timeframes for existing mandatory vaccination requirements for residential aged care workers.

Aged care providers can find more information about the updated direction and full advice on current restrictions for aged care on the Queensland Government website.

Victorian Health - new website and resources

The Victorian Department of Health has launched a new website for COVID-19 information relevant to the residential aged care sector. The website has been developed to ensure a user friendly experience which allows the sector to promptly access the required information, allowing for effective preparation and response to outbreaks of COVID-19.

The website can be viewed at:

The new factsheet Supporting Safe Visits to Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) provides information and resources to assist residential aged care facilities to support residents receiving visitors safely. All updates from previous versions are highlighted in yellow.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Victorian Government Aged Care COVID team on if you have any questions.

NSW Health Update

The screening advice for residential aged care facilities and home care service providers has been updated for 7 November 2021.

The key messages for this update include:

  • Updated information for residential aged care facilities
    • Residents are permitted to have two fully vaccinated visitors aged 12 years and over plus two children aged under 12 years per day.
    • There is an exemption on visitor limitations for end of life visits, up to 4 people (includes unvaccinated) are allowed to visit a resident at any one time.
    • Screening requirements for RACF visitors and staff returning from overseas has been updated so that:
      • Fully vaccinated people must not work or visit if they have returned from overseas in the last 7 days. They must have evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken on or after day 7 prior to entry.
      • Fully vaccinated international flight crew members are permitted entry into a RACF if they can show evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result within 24 hours of arrival into NSW, or a rapid antigen test taken on the same day prior to entry.
    • Screening requirements related to local, interstate and overseas case locations have been removed.
  • Updated information for home care service providers
    • In-home and community aged-care providers must receive their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine by 9am on 29 November 2021.
    • Screening requirements for in-home and community aged-care workers returning from overseas have been updated so that:
      • Fully vaccinated people must not work if they have returned from overseas in the last 7 days. They must have evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken on or after day 7 prior to entry.
    • Information related to day activity programs has been included.
    • Screening requirements related to local, interstate and overseas case locations have been removed.

Keep up to date with the latest information on the NSW Health website.

ACT Chief Health Officer (CHO) Update

The ACT CHO issued advice for RACFs on 12 November 2021, acknowledging the excellent work done in achieving high vaccination coverage in staff across RACFs in the ACT.

High vaccination coverage in RACFs and the broader ACT community has lead to ACT easing restrictions further from 11:59pm on Thursday 11 November 2021. As part of this easing, ACT RACFs will be empowered to determine their own policies of entry into their facilities. There will no longer be any public health mandated visitor restrictions to RACFs. While RACFs will revert to their own policies of entry, it is anticipated that facilities will not revert to more restrictive policies than are currently in place.

Visitors must comply with policies established by the relevant RACF and follow COVID-Safe behaviours. Facilities should continue to consider what other protective measures can be used, such as facilitating visits outdoors (especially for unvaccinated visitors), in well ventilated spaces or in private rooms.

All persons aged 12 years and over must continue to wear a face mask while visiting indoors. Visitors should wear a surgical mask while in a RACF. Screening prior to entry should continue, using the entry screening questions. Visitors must not enter an RACF at all if they say ‘yes’ to any of the entry screening questions.

Full details on the current advice for high-risk settings can be found on the ACT Health website.

SA Health

Updated Directions for aged care providers in SA

SA Health have issued the new Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) Direction (No.42) and the In-home and Community Aged Care and Disability Workers Vaccination) (COVID-19) Direction 2021.

Under the RACF Emergency Management Direction, from 6 December 2021, a person is not permitted to enter or remain on the premises of a RACF unless they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 (A person is vaccinated against COVID-19 if they have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the TGA or all dosages of a recognised COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with dosage schedule recommended by ATAGI for that vaccine).

Under the Direction, from 17 September 2021, residential aged care workers must have received at least one dose of a TGA approved or recognised COVID-19 vaccine and has received or has have evidence of a booking to receive, or have received, a second dose of a TGA approved or recognised COVID-19 vaccine within the interval after the first dose recommended by the ATAGI for that COVID-19 vaccine. Some exemptions apply. However, from 6 December 2021, exemptions to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for RACF workers are limited (please refer to the Direction for details).

Residential aged care workers and visitors can apply for an exemption, their medical practitioner must complete the Immunisation Exemption Application Form and submit this along with a medical certificate to:

From 30 November 2021, in-home and community aged care workers must have received at least one dose of a TGA approved or recognised COVID-19 vaccination and received, or have evidence of a booking to receive, a second dose of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine within the interval after the first dose recommended by ATAGI for that COVID-19 vaccine. In-home and community aged care and disability support workers must provide the operator of the health care setting with proof of their vaccination status upon request.

Please visit the SA Government website to find more information.

Particulate Filter Respirator (PFR) Fit Check education for SA RACFs

RACF Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Leads are invited to attend an online PFR 'Fit Check' education session, delivered by the COVID Operations Infection Control Service (ICS), SA Department for Health and Wellbeing.

Registration is limited to one representative per site; it’s expected that each IPC Lead will then roll-out the training on a train-the-trainer basis to other RACF staff. It’s highly recommended that all RACFs participate in this specialised PPE training session.

The PFR (i.e. P2/N95 respirator or equivalent) 'fit check' education aims to:

1. Develop skills in how to correctly:

  • put on a PFR
  • perform a 'fit check'
  • take off a PFR.

2. Develop skills using a “train-the-trainer” model where trained IPC Leads will be able to provide 'fit check' sessions within their facilities.

Please note, this education is an interim measure only. Staff who are trained to perform a 'fit check' must be followed up with 'fit testing' as soon as possible, and preferably within the next 6-8 weeks. Each RACF will need to develop an action plan to achieve this.

Register now. Bookings close COB Tuesday 16 November 2021.

Four sessions per day will be delivered virtually over three days (sessions are identical) to ensure all RACF have an opportunity to participate in the education. Please choose one session from the below dates and times (ACDT):

Wednesday 17 November 2021
Thursday 18 November 2021
Friday 19 November 2021

Session 1: 10:00am – 11:00am
Session 2: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Session 3: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Session 4: 5:00pm– 6:00pm

Participants will need access to a computer with video and sound (MS Teams will be used for the virtual sessions).

Participants will need to have a suitable stock of different PFR types, including Detmold and cup style. RACFs will need to obtain an their own supply to support the train-the-trainer program, as well as maintaining a standing supply for future use when required. RACFs can source stock from their usual supplier or through SA Health (at a cost) by emailing

After you have registered for a session, you will receive an email with link to MS Teams where the virtual session will be held.

More information

Particulate Filter Respirator (PFR) are the recommended face mask to be worn in the event of COVID-19 exposure and outbreaks. PFR are also appropriate as part of the PPE required for all health care workers involved in aerosol-generating procedures and aerosol generating behaviours when a resident is confirmed or suspected of having a disease that may be transmitted via the droplet or airborne route (including COVID-19). If RACFs use PFR face masks as part of your escalating PPE strategy, it will significantly reduce the likelihood that staff will need to be furloughed in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in your facility.

The national Infection Control Expert Group recommends that healthcare workers who wear P2/N95 respirators should complete fit testing before first use, and perform a fit check (ensuring an effective seal) each time they are used. In situations where fit testing has not yet been carried out, and a P2/N95 respirator is recommended for use, a fit-checked P2/N95 respirator is preferred to a surgical mask.

For any queries, or for late booking enquiries, please contact Office for Ageing Well by email: or call 8204 2420.

Help us improve

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