Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 update 23 September 2020

What’s new: Outbreaks decline in Victoria as efforts focus on prevention and recovery, Dementia Action Week, updated NSW advice and distribution of PPE, National Cabinet update on state emergency plans, and reminder to access expert webinar content.

Date published:
Health sector

In this newsletter we begin with the latest information from Victoria and how the drop in outbreaks and case numbers is allowing for a shift in focus to prevention and recovery. While everyone continues to remain vigilant and there is still a long way to go, this is positive news and a credit to everyone who has been impacted and doing everything possible to prevent the spread of the virus, while maintaining quality and safe care of residents.

This edition also provides information on Dementia Action Week and updated advice from NSW Health on restrictions in residential aged care facilities and home care providers.

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce. Please also encourage them to subscribe for future updates.

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.

Outbreaks decline in Victoria as efforts focus on prevention and recovery

As COVID-19 case numbers in aged care continue to fall in Victoria in line with the fall in community transmission, the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) is shifting gear to focus on prevention and recovery, including returning residents to their homes, whilst continuing to support facilities with existing outbreaks.

The latest release from the VACRC outlines the current situation in Victoria and pays tribute to the staff in the aged care sector, noting all the work done to protect our most vulnerable seniors.

Full details are available here.

Dementia Action Week

This week is Dementia Action Week with the theme 'A little support makes a lot of difference'. It was also World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September 2020.

Helping lift the burden for people living with dementia and those who care for them is the focus of an awareness campaign across Australia this week.

Around Australia more than 447,000 people live with dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck has outlined the Government initiatives to help those grappling with the difficult health diagnosis. The correct support can help to make a difference – particularly as COVID-19 continues to present challenges for aged care facilities across Australia.

By following appropriate infection control protocols, it is important aged care providers continue to allow visitation for dementia patients and their families during the pandemic. All providers should continue to consider the industry-agreed Aged Care Visitor Access Code to the response to the pandemic is proportionate and in the best interests of the residents.

Read the full media statement.

Updated NSW advice and distribution of PPE

On 18 September 2020, NSW Health issued updated advice to residential aged care facilities and home care services in NSW with some of the recommended restrictions eased in certain areas based on the latest COVID-19 community transmission data. Advice will be reconsidered next week.

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

Distribution of PPE from the National Medical Stockpile

Residential aged care facilities on the NSW Central Coast and the Lithgow area started to receive dispatches of a range of PPE this week from the national medical stockpile, including single-use face shields, gowns and surgical masks, to ensure they can implement appropriate infection control measures.

If you urgently need PPE and cannot source it please submit an online application.

National Cabinet: Update on state emergency plans

At the National Cabinet on 18 September 2020 there was an update on the work being done to boost aged care preparedness at the provider, local, state and national level.

It was noted that while all states and territories are considered to have good existing emergency response capabilities and are on track with establishing and/or scaling up virtual or physical Response Centres, further practical actions will be undertaken to ensure a high level of preparedness.

Within each jurisdictions’ public health response structure, a dedicated aged care emergency response team has been established and key personnel identified at the state and Commonwealth level.

See the full National Cabinet Media Release.

Reminder to access expert webinar content

Providers and staff are encouraged to access the content from the ‘Lunch and Learn’ webinars run by the Victorian Age Care Response Centre in collaboration with Leading Age Services Australia.

Last Friday ‘PPE best practice’ was the topic and this coming Friday from 1:00pm–1:45pm AEST ‘Lessons learnt’ will round out the series. The presenters are industry experts and participants can ask questions.

Recordings from all previous webinars and registration for Friday 25 September are available. Find out more and register.


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