Protecting older Australians: COVID-19 update 20 March 2020

Information about a new fact sheet for older Australians and an update from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner about COVID-19.

Date published:
Health sector

In today’s edition we link to the new fact sheet for older Australians. This will be updated as the situation evolves.

We also have an update from the Aged Care Quality and Sdandards Commission (ACQSC) on their current activities.

Thank you for your continued support in protecting older Australians from COVID-19.

Information to help protect older Australians from

The Australian Government has published a fact sheet for information and advice of older Australians on COVID-19. The resource outlines the COVID-19 facts and measures older Australians and their families and friends can take to protect themselves and others in this at risk population.

“Senior Australians and their loved ones must have access to updated information to ensure they can protect themselves, whether they’re living at home, with family or in care,” Minister Colbeck said.

“We know the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases with age. Unfortunately, the highest rate of fatalities is among older people, particularly those with a weakened immune system.”

The fact sheet provides answers to questions asked frequently by older Australians, including:

  • the symptoms of COVID-19 and requirements for testing
  • preventative steps to reduce the risk of contraction and spread of COVID-19
  • measures to keep in contact with friends and family
  • restrictions to visits in residential aged care facilities
  • access to care through Home Care Packages, and additional medical / health services
  • what to do about shopping, scams, holidays or events as a result of COVID-19

We encourage you to share these fact sheets widely with older Australians, online and in hard copy. 

Upate from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner: Assessment contact on preparing for COVID-19

The ACQSC has advised they are contacting all approved providers of residential aged care services by telephone to monitor and support them in their preparation for a COVID-19 outbreak.

This assessment contact will involve a regulatory official from the Commission contacting the provider to discuss their responsibilities under the Aged Care Quality Standards and to provide details about important guidance material that has been released including the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) infection control guidelines and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice on visits to vulnerable groups including residential aged care services.

The telephone call is not an assessment of performance against the standards. The call will take approximately 10 minutes and arrangements will be made to call back if the provider is busy at the time of the call.

In the coming days the Commission will also be conducting a short online survey of all aged care residential services asking them 10 questions about their preparedness for COVID-19 based on the CDNA and AHPPC guidelines.

Coming soon

  • Fact sheets for resident aged care workers and in-home care workers
  • Information on accessing new visa arrangements
  • Personal protective equipment update
  • Rapid response teams where an urgent health response is required
  • Mechanism for accessing support under the aged care component of the Health Care Plan —  we are finalising the process to access grants, funding and resources under the aged care component of the Health Care Plan

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