Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 Update 16 August 2021

In this issue: NSW Priority vaccination for aged care workers, Asymptomatic testing for staff in Victorian residential aged care and more.

Date published:
Health sector

NSW Priority vaccination for aged care workers

Aged Care workers are invited to book a priority appointment at your closest vaccination centre - a vaccination is one of the best ways to protect you and your loved ones against COVID-19.

Please see the Invitation for authorised workers in affected Local Government Areas and vaccination poster for aged care workers to book a priority appointment at their closest vaccination centre and share these with your aged care colleagues.

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

Asymptomatic testing for staff in Victorian residential aged care

Victoria is still experiencing COVID-19 community outbreaks with quite a number of residential aged care facilities already experiencing exposure through close contacts in their staff and residents. Across Victoria we have seen a great uptake in asymptomatic testing of staff in residential aged care facilities (RACF). During this current outbreak, the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) is encouraging all residential aged care facilities to offer weekly to fortnightly asymptomatic testing of staff. We congratulate you on highlighting to staff that early identification via asymptomatic testing will help protect residents, themselves and their families from the impacts of COVID-19.

Private RACFs can contact Melbourne Pathology to request additional COVID-19 swabs by emailing Facilities should book a pick-up of swabs every day that samples are taken by contacting Melbourne Pathology’s courier service on (03) 9287 7788. If you have any questions on collections, please contact Melbourne Pathology:

Grief and trauma support for the aged care sector

A reminder that with the recent lockdowns, people living, working, and caring in the aged care sector may be experiencing grief and trauma due to the lockdowns. They may have past trauma that is triggered by lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions, as well as feelings of grief reacting to the loss of experiences, events, people, and routines important to them.

The Australian Government has invested in a Grief and Trauma Support Program to help those impacted by COVID-19 across the aged care sector to provide:

We understand the serious emotional and psychological trauma that COVID-19 has had on people living in residential aged care, as well as their loved ones, and the staff providing care and support.

Grief and trauma comes in many forms.
Many people may be suffering grief from the death of a loved one due to COVID-19. Grief can also be experienced without involving death. Many people living and working in aged care facilities who don’t have COVID-19 outbreaks may be still feeling grief caused by the lockdowns and social distancing. This kind of grief could be from missing visitors, experiences, pets, routines, and loss of important life events. People in and around aged care may also be experiencing trauma as a response to traumatic incidents, isolation, physical distancing, COVID-19 hotspot lockdowns, ongoing uncertainty, and visitor restrictions.

Free grief loss and trauma support
This grief, loss and trauma support is free and available nationally for aged care residents and home care recipients; their families, friends, family of choice, loved ones, community visitors and representatives. Please connect your residents to the supports and encourage your staff to make use of the support services and resources, including videos, guidance, and self-care strategies.

More information
A brochure in 64 languages, as well as an Indigenous design, and poster in 10 languages raising awareness of the supports available for download are on the Department’s grief and trauma COVID-19 support services page.

Fact sheets on grief and loss in aged care, as well as trauma and self-care in aged care in multiple languages are available to order. Brochures, posters and self-care fact sheets can be ordered in print at no cost to you using the resource order form on the program resources page.

For more information, contact

Consumer Survey: COVID-19 Grief and Trauma supports

The Department is committed to listening to consumer feedback to support continuous improvement of consumer supports, programs, and services.

We are asking aged care recipients and their loved ones to complete this short, 5-10 minute survey to help us evaluate the aged care COVID-19 grief and trauma response package. The survey will assess:

  • if consumers know about the services provided in the package
  • if consumers have used the services provided
  • how the services and communication about the package could be improved.

Who should fill in the survey?
We’d like to hear from people receiving aged care and their loved ones. You may wish to distribute this link through your networks that include:

  • people receiving aged care, including home care and residential care
  • loved ones of people receiving aged care.  This can include family, friends, family of choice, and community visitors

Background on the package:
The emotional and psychological impacts of COVID-19 right across the aged care sector have caused grief and trauma for many. The Australian Government has funded a Grief and Trauma Response Package (the Package) to provide grief and trauma support and resources to aged care recipients, their loved ones, and the aged care staff.

If you would like to share this survey with aged care recipients and their loved ones, please invite them to complete the survey by 10am on 3 September 2021. A downloadable version and reply-paid address are available for people who prefer to complete a paper survey.

If you have any questions about the survey, please email: HealthConsult Project Manager Amy Monk via or the department's project team

Help us improve

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