Today’s edition has updated advice on visitor restrictions for residential aged care facilities from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and further information on the workforce retention bonus payment.
Also included today is a brief summary of some of the funding announcements and new initiatives that have been put in place to support aged care providers during COVID-19. This is to remind aged care providers what resources could support them during COVID-19 and where to find further information.
As always, many thanks to you and your teams for your continued support to protect older Australians.
AHPPC update on visitor restrictions for residential aged care facilities
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has provided updated advice on restrictions on entry into residential aged care facilities (RACFs) during COVID-19. AHPPC considers the personal welfare and mental health of residents to be of vital importance.
Key changes to the recommended advice on visitor restrictions include:
- Permitting children of all ages to visit residents.
- Allowing visiting service providers such as hairdressers, diversional therapists and allied health professionals to enter RACFs, where these services cannot be provided through other models of care.
- Not limiting the number of hours a spouse or close relative can spend with a resident.
External excursions for groups of residents is still not recommended by AHPPC. However, residents should be permitted to leave the facility to attend small family gatherings.
AHPPC continues to advise that only visitors and staff who have been vaccinated against influenza may enter a facility. RACFs should also continue to undertake health symptom screening of all people entering the facility.
AHPPC recommends that facilities return to a higher level of protection, such as restricting visits, if there are recent cases of COVID-19 acquired in the local vicinity of the facility.
Service providers should stay up to date with the visitor restriction directions in their State or Territory as many of these directions are now being revised.
Workforce Retention Bonus Payment
The grant opportunity round for the Aged Care Workforce Retention Bonus Payment is now open. All information regarding this grant opportunity can be found on the GrantConnect website and search for GO ID of GO4068.
In addition, we have released frequently asked questions (FAQs) to provide further information:
For any provider enquires on the application please email grant.ATM@health.gov.au.
Funding support for aged care during COVID-19
There have been a number of funding announcements and new initiatives to support aged care providers during COVID-19. Below is a brief summary of some of these measures to remind aged care providers what resources could support them during COVID-19, and where to find further information.
Available grants relating to COVID-19 for aged care
The COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program
This $52.9 million grant opportunity reimburses approved aged care providers for eligible expenditure incurred managing the direct impacts of COVID-19 in the period 24 February 2020 and 31 May 2021.
The program is open for applications. To apply or find out more information about this grant visit the GrantConnect website and search for GO3844 COVID19 - Aged Care Support Program.
The Workforce Retention Bonus Grant:
This $234.9 million grant opportunity will be paid by employers (aged care providers and agencies who provide aged care staff) to their eligible staff. The grant opportunity opened on 15 June 2020 and will close on 20 July 2020. First payments will be made to providers and agencies in July 2020.
All information regarding this grant opportunity can be found on the GrantConnect website using the GO ID of GO4068.
Emergency Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) Grant funding:
The Government committed $70.2 million to help fund short-term support for CHSP service providers to continue delivering services to older Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An additional $50 million in funding is also available for CHSP providers who deliver CHSP meal services.
Temporary uplifts in funding
COVID-19 support payment to residential aged care providers:
Temporary increase to residential care subsidy:
All residential care providers are receiving a portion of an additional $78.3 million. This is being administered through an uplift to subsidies paid through the Aged Care Funding Instrument from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020.
Temporary increase to viability and homeless supplements:
There is also $26.9 million in funding for a temporary 30% increase to the Residential and Home Care Viability Supplements and the Homeless supplement. Funding has effect from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020.
Temporary increase to home care package subsidies:
$22 million in funding has been allocated for a temporary increase in home care package subsidies to support providers’ additional costs resulting from COVID-19.
- Retention Bonus FAQs - for care workers
- Retention Bonus FAQs - for providers and agencies
- Updated fact sheet – information for families and residents on restricted visits to residential aged care facilities
- First person perspective on outbreak management