Today’s edition provides information on the COVID-19 funding boost for residential care providers, as well as information on further support to prevent loneliness and social isolation for senior Australians.
This edition also includes information about the COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program which will reimburse eligible aged care providers for eligible expenditure incurred due to COVID-19, as well as information about the new resource, ‘Stay COVID free, do the 3’.
As always, many thanks to you and your teams for your continued support to protect older Australians.
COVID-19 funding boost for residential care providers
As announced on 1 May 2020, a new one-off lump sum COVID-19 support payment will be paid to residential aged care providers.
The payment – to all Commonwealth funded residential aged care providers – will be linked to the number of residents being cared for by each facility during February 2020, and is aimed at covering the additional costs of caring for the health and wellbeing of residents during the pandemic.
The new COVID-19 support payment will be paid automatically in June as Services Australia process the claims lodged by approved providers for the May payment period.
Facilities outside major metropolitan areas will receive a 50 per cent loading to cover the additional costs of providing care in these areas.
Payments will be based on the number of days of care provided during February 2020. Providers will receive around $900 per full time equivalent resident in major metropolitan areas and around $1350 per full time equivalent resident in all other areas.
Providers will be required to provide a description in the annual compliance statement due on 31 October of how they have used the payment to support care for residents during COVID-19.
Information about the COVID-19 support payment is available on the department’s website and in the 1 May 2020 media release from the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck: New COVID-19 payment to keep senior Australians in residential aged care safe.
Supporting isolated senior Australians to stay connected
The Government is supporting senior Australians through two new initiatives to prevent loneliness and social isolation under a $6 million communications package.
Almost $5 million will be used to significantly expand Friend Line, a national telephone support service for older Australians, to answer 60,000 calls a year.
The Government has also awarded $1 million in grants to 215 local community organisations to provide at-risk seniors with digital devices such as mobile phones and laptops.
The grants will be delivered on the ground through local community organisations and managed by Good Things Foundation Australia as the Be Connected National Network Manager.
Friend Line (1800 4 CHATS) will rapidly expand to be available outside normal business hours between 10am to 8pm, seven days a week.
Read the full announcement here.
The latest investment comes on top of a new support line offering specific advice and counselling for senior Australians seeking assistance because of COVID-19. Established in conjunction with the Council on the Ageing Australia, National Seniors Australia, the Older Persons Advocacy Network and Dementia Australia, the COVID-19 support line will operate Monday to Friday, except public holidays, from 8.30am to 6pm on 1800 171 866.
Information about the COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program
What is the COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program?
The COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program is a $52.9 million grant opportunity announced as part of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Health Package.
The program will reimburse eligible aged care providers for eligible expenditure incurred on managing direct impacts of COVID-19 up to a maximum grant value per service.
The intended outcomes of the program are:
- Consumers of Aged Care Services directly impacted by COVID-19 experience safe quality care
- The financial costs of managing direct impacts of COVID-19 are reduced for eligible Aged Care services.
Who is eligible to apply?
You are eligible to apply for this grant opportunity if:
- Your organisation has approval to provide residential aged care or home care services under the Aged Care Act 1997 AND has one or more services directly impacted by COVID-19, or
- Your organisation has approval to provide aged care services under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care (NATSIFAC) Program AND has one or more services directly impacted by COVID-19.
Directly impacted services are those with one or more COVID-19 infected or isolated care recipients or staff in the period between 24 February 2020 and 31 May 2021. Isolation is when a person is confined to the service/ their residence as they are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. To be eligible for this grant a care recipient or staff member must have been tested for COVID-19.
When can I apply?
The program is opened on 27 March 2020 and will close at 2pm on 31 May 2021.
An eligible service is able to apply for funding after the COVID-19 isolation/infection has been resolved.
How do I apply?
Before applying make sure you read and understand the grant opportunity guidelines and associated addenda. To apply you will need to complete the online application form, provide all the information requested and address all the eligibility criteria. A costs calculator must be completed as part of the application. This document will help you describe the costs related to managing the direct cost of COVID-19. The latest version of the costs calculator must be used. Make sure to keep evidence of all expenditure, for example invoices because the Department may request this information when assessing your application.
To apply or find out more information about this grant visit the GrantConnect website and search for GO3844 COVID19 - Aged Care Support Program.
Stay COVID free, do the 3
A new resource, Stay COVID free do the 3 has been published on the department’s website offering guidance on how to stay COVID-19 free.
As we start to get back out there, this poster reminds all Australians to be COVID safe by washing your hands, keeping your distance and having the COVIDSafe app.
- Further testing information
- Outbreak management case studies