Date published: 
16 September 2020
Type: 
Newsletter
Intended Audience: 
Health sector

Today’s newsletter includes information on the new weekly data snapshot of COVID-19 cases in residential aged care facilities.

We have advice on preparing for returning residents from hospitals to aged care facilities, as well as updated advice from NSW Health and QLD Health for providers.

We have a reminder on VACRC's ‘Lunch and Learn’ webinar series, which this week focuses on family communication and engagement and best practice PPE.

We thank you for your hard work to protect older Australians and encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce.

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.

Weekly data snapshot of COVID-19 cases in residential aged care

On 12 September, the Department released a new data snapshot of residential aged care facilities which have recorded COVID-19 infections. The report provides greater transparency for residents and their families around the situation in aged care facilities. You can read Minister Colbeck’s announcement on the release of COVID-19 infection data in aged care here.

The report includes data on the impact of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities nationally that have had two or more cases, as well as information on the deployment of workforce, testing and PPE to support them. The report also highlights how Australia is performing internationally.

The report will be updated weekly and can be viewed on the Department’s website.

Returning residents from hospital to residential care

Guidance is available for residential aged care facilities on the process for preparing to return residents back to their residential aged care facility from hospital.

The approach to returning residents is underpinned by the following principles:

  • Decision making that puts the preferences of residents and their families at the centre of the process
  • Ensuring residents return to a safe environment through sharing information and communication
  • A staged and planned approach in line with the capacity of the receiving facility and the associated logistical support (such as transport system)
  • Reducing any risk of transmission for the returning residents and any residents on site
  • Ensuring ongoing capacity in the hospital system to meet demand for clinical admissions.

The full factsheet, which has been released by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is available here.

Updated Advice for NSW providers

NSW Health is seeking to ensure that all appropriate preventative action is taken to avoid transmission of COVID into residential aged care facilities and home care settings.

NSW Health released updated advice on 11 September 2020. This advice confirmed the continuation of visitor restrictions for residential aged care facilities in metropolitan Sydney and the Nepean Blue Mountains and Central Coast regions. In addition, staff who work or live in these areas must wear masks whilst at work.

This temporary requirement will be reviewed next week based on the incidence of COVID-19.

Read NSW Health’s full advice for residential aged care facilities and home care providers.

Updated Advice for Queensland providers

Queensland Health has issued Aged Care Direction (No 10) which came into effect from 11 September 2020.

The latest advice includes:

  • New requirements for all residential aged care facility operators to:
    • notify their local Health Emergency Operations Centre in the event of a critical workforce shortage for notification purposes
    • take reasonable steps to develop and document appropriate processes to ensure residents and their unique needs can be immediately identified in a COVID-19 event
  • Clarification of PPE requirements, including that appropriate PPE should be worn in accordance with Qld Health’s Residential Aged Care Facility and Disability Accommodation PPE Guidance
  • Clarification that students may enter a residential aged care facility to undertake a placement
  • Clarification that residential aged care facility operators in a restricted area may grant permission to people to enter the facility to provide continuity of care for a resident that cannot be delivered by electronic or non-contact means
  • Clarification that the Direction also applies to residential aged care facilities funded under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care (NATSIFAC) Program.

Further changes are set to come in to effect from 8:00am on 1 October 2020 and these include:

  • New requirements for residential aged care facility operators to:
    • Include information in their Workforce Management Plan about how workforce surge requirements will be met if there is a COVID-19 event at the facility
    • Take reasonable steps to ensure employees, contractors who have contact with residents, volunteers and students undergo face to face infection control and PPE training

Take reasonable steps to ensure they have an adequate supply of PPE available to respond to a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the facility.

Webinars

Two webinars are scheduled this week. The webinars will focus on family engagement and communication on Wednesday 16 September, and best practice PPE on Friday 18 September.

The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) webinar 'Lunch and Learn' series includes expert speakers from VACRC and subject matter experts from across the age services industry.

This series of webinars are conveniently held at lunchtime and are free to attend. The topics are designed to equip providers with information to support them during the pandemic as well as providing an opportunity for providers to ask questions.

Recordings will be made available to registrants after the session. Find out more and register.

Resources