Thank you for continuing to stay up to date with the latest information.
Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams and encourage them to subscribe for future updates. You can view past editions of the Protecting Older Australians Newsletter as well as other announcements for the aged care sector on the department's website.
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.
Review into COVID‑19 outbreaks in aged care
In a joint statement today, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck have released the Independent Review of COVID‑19 Outbreaks in Australian Residential Aged Care Facilities, prepared by Professor Lyn Gilbert and Adjunct Professor Alan Lilly.
The Morrison Government has accepted all 38 recommendations from this review into COVID‑19 outbreaks.
The review will underpin continued improvements as the Government and aged care sector prioritise the health and wellbeing of senior Australians in care.
You can read the Government's response to the independent review on the department's website.
Please note that the release of the report may be confronting for anyone affected by the impact of the pandemic on Australia’s aged care sector. The following support is available:
- The Older Persons Advocacy Network: phone 1800 700 600
- The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement: phone 1800 22 22 00
- Beyond Blue Support Service: phone 1300 22 4636
- Lifeline: phone 13 11 14
- Head to Health provides access to free and low cost digital and phone mental health services and supports, available at headtohealth.gov.au.
Managing home care through COVID‑19
Home Care Package providers can now access a hub for COVID‑19 information and guidance on the Department of Health website.
The Managing home care through COVID‑19 webpage has been designed to support providers when they’re navigating COVID‑19, now and into the future. The webpage will be updated in response to Australia’s continued 'opening up' and includes links to resources that are updated regularly.
The webpage includes guidance for providers on:
- providing care when a care recipient has COVID‑19 or is in isolation in line with their security of tenure requirements
- COVID-19 vaccination
- financial support available to support workers to receive their vaccinations, reporting vaccinations through the My Aged Care portal, and to cover workforce surge and PPE if a care recipient or staff member tests positive to COVID‑19
- how to contact the Department when there is an outbreak
- resources for PPE training
- contact details for Public Health Units in each state and territory.
The webpage outlines that providers are bound by the legislative security of tenure requirements, even when the care recipient:
- is in lockdown
- is in quarantine or isolation
- has tested positive for COVID-19.
Providers must continue providing services in line with the public health orders. Providers must not stop providing services without finding alternative arrangements for care recipients. You can contact your local public health unit for specific advice or go to your relevant state or territory website.
A dedicated case manager from the Department will support you during a COVID-19 outbreak among your staff and/or care recipients. For support providers with a COVID‑19 outbreak should email agedcareCOVIDcases@health.gov.au.
CHSP mandatory reporting reminder and Emergency Support for COVID‑19 Ad Hoc Round
A reminder that mandatory reporting commenced on 5 October 2021 for all Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers to report and provide weekly updates every Tuesday on the COVID‑19 vaccination status of the aged care workforce.
Reporting is via the My Aged Care portal for providers.
The reporting requires all CHSP providers to record de-identified data at a service level on the:
- total number of workers at each aged care service, and of those,
- the number of workers at each service who have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- the number of workers at each service who have received all required doses of a COVID‑19 vaccine.
Funding Arrangement Managers from the Community Grants Hub will be contacting CHSP providers over the next few weeks to ensure staff are continuing to be vaccinated in line with the public health orders and providers are accurately reporting this information in the My Aged Care portal.
CHSP providers can apply for additional emergency funds for COVID-19 related activities and transition support and incentives (administrative/staffing) for workforce vaccination reporting through the CHSP Emergency Support for COVID‑19 Ad Hoc Round (GO3877).
Applications are available on GrantConnect and close on 30 June 2022.
Guidance and further information on vaccination reporting is available on the department's website.
State and territory aged care COVID-19 information
As the COVID-19 situation changes and restrictions are easing, aged care providers are reminded to stay up to date on visitor restrictions, PPE requirements and other measures relating to COVID-19 in aged care, from their relevant state or territory website below: