Date published: 
25 September 2020
Type: 
Newsletter
Intended Audience: 
Health sector

Today’s newsletter contains information about the extension of the Guiding Principles currently in place in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to support aged care workers to work at a single site.

We are also reminding providers and their staff of the need for vigilance and consistency when it comes to the correct use of PPE. This is important to protect yourself and those in your care.

We have also included new resources from Australia’s Chief Nursing Officer on the correct way to use and clean face shields, as well as a general reminder on utilising the Commonwealth’s free, online training for aged care workers.

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.

Extension of the Guiding Principles for residential aged care

This is a reminder that the ‘Guiding Principles for residential aged care – keeping Victorian residents and workers safe’ (the Principles) are still in effect for workers in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. The Principles were originally in place from 27 July to 25 September 2020 but this has been extended to 26 October 2020 and may be extended further if necessary.

The Principles aim to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading among aged care residents and workers by supporting workers in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to work at a single aged care site for the time that the Principles are in place.

Providers are encouraged to discuss extended leave arrangements with workers in line with the extension of the Principles. The Federal Government has made more funding available to providers to implement the Principles for an extra four weeks, until 26 October 2020, under the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 Grant. Providers can apply for funding to ensure workers are paid their usual income and not disadvantaged due to working at a single site.

For further assistance, providers can contact the Guiding Principles Support Hub on 1800 491 793 (free call).

Information on how to use and clean face shields

The Department of Health has published two new video resources from Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Alison McMillan to assist aged care workers who are required to wear face shields.

In the first video, How to don and doff a face shield, Professor McMillan explains how to safely put on and take off a face shield.

In the second video, How to clean a face shield, Professor McMillan explains how to clean and disinfect reusable face shields.

The Commonwealth has published recommended minimum requirements for the use of masks or respirators by health and residential care workers in areas with significant community transmission. These are minimum requirements and aged care providers and workers must also consult the directives of their relevant state health authority.

Aged care workers and providers are also reminded that the Commonwealth has published a quick guide on face shield use during COVID-19.

General reminder on PPE usage and sourcing

Consistently and safely wearing PPE is an essential measure to protect your health, and the health of the older Australians in your care.

All aged care workers and providers are reminded of the need to ensure you are consistently following Commonwealth guidance, and state and territory government requirements and directions on PPE use. Depending on the incidence of COVID-19 in individual jurisdictions and localised areas within jurisdictions, states and territories may implement more stringent requirements on when to use PPE. It is important you remain up to date with the latest Commonwealth guidance and state/territory requirements.

The directions are available on the following websites:

If you urgently need PPE and cannot source it please submit an online application. The Commonwealth is prioritising requests for PPE from the National Medical Stockpile to aged care services that are most in need.

Residential and in home aged care services across Australia who are in a priority category can request surgical masks and P2/N95 respirator masks from the National Medical Stockpile. Requests for other PPE, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and prioritised where there is an outbreak in a residential aged care facility.

Providers should also continue to try to source PPE through suppliers and establish an ongoing general PPE supply.

Reminder to providers on Aged Care specific training modules

Providers are reminded to ensure aged care staff have completed the COVID-19 infection control training.

This training covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19. Additional training modules, specifically designed for aged care workers are also available. These additional modules are relevant for aged care workers in both residential and home care.

If you would like to access the aged care training, users will need to register their workplaces as ‘aged care’. If you have already registered for online training but not with ‘aged care’ as your workplace, email support [at] covid-19training.gov.au for a priority response.

Resources