Protecting Older Australians – COVID-19 update 27 May 2022

In this issue edition: Winter preparedness, Reminders about vaccinations for influenza and COVID-19 and Aged Care Emergency and Crisis Management Training.

Date published:
Audience:
Health sector

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.

Winter preparedness webinar series

The Department is hosting a series of free webinars to help aged care providers to be ready for, respond to and recover from winter viruses such as influenza, as well as continuing to respond to the threat of COVID-19.

Rapid actions during the response phase in an outbreak, based on preparations put in place during your readiness phase, will ensure services can address outbreaks early and lessen the potential impacts.  You can find more details and resources on preparing for the winter season on our website: Prevent and prepare for COVID-19 in residential aged care.

This next webinar, will focus on key advice and available support on responding to outbreaks during the winter period. You will hear from the following panellists:

  • Mr Michael Lye, Deputy Secretary, Ageing and Aged Care Group, Department of Health
  • Professor Michael Kidd, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health
  • Ms Helen Grinbergs, First Assistant Secretary, Service Delivery Division, Department of Health
  • Mr Chris Bedford, Assistant Secretary, Primary Health Division, Department of Health
  • Mr Craig Gear, Chief Executive Officer, Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN).

Details

When: Thursday 2 June 2022 – 1pm to 2pm AEST.

Register

Participants will need to register to attend this free webinar.

This webinar will be recorded and available on the department’s website for on demand viewing.

Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions prior to the event in the registration link, or on the day via the Q+A function.

The first winter preparedness webinar was held on Wednesday 13 April 2022 and is available to watch on demand: Preparing your aged care service for winter – readiness. The final webinar being planned will focus on the recovery process, after an outbreak. Details will be provided when they are available.

Reminder – Vaccinations for influenza and COVID-19

Vaccines save lives. The best way to protect yourself, your residents, their families and carers and your staff from influenza (flu) and COVID is to get vaccinated.

This winter we expect an increase in influenza cases and with COVID continuing to circulate at the same time, it is important to be protected against flu and COVID.

We strongly encourage you to engage with residents and workers to discuss vaccination options and support the consent process to achieve optimum vaccination coverage.

You should also be assisting in-home and community care recipients and workers to understand how they can access flu and COVID vaccinations.

Having your arrangements in place early so that you can offer vaccinations and boosters to your residents and staff will help to minimise potential outbreaks and severity of disease.

Under the National Immunisation Program (NIP), flu vaccinations are free if you are aged 65 years or older, and is also recommended for all people aged 6 months and over (unless contraindicated). For COVID, you need a booster to stay up to date with your vaccinations if you are 16 years and over. We encourage you to make sure eligible populations have had or will receive their additional COVID booster dose before the winter season.

Please have a look at the available information on accessing flu vaccinations through the NIP on the Department's website, and the promotional materials including posters and brochures that you can use from the 2022 influenza resource collection.

Reminder – Aged care emergency and Crisis management training program available until 30 June 2022

The recent emergency events across the country, including ongoing management of the COVID-19 pandemic and response to natural disasters, continue to highlight the importance of effective crisis management and decision making for aged care providers.

Providers are reminded that online training modules covering aged care emergency and crisis management leadership training remain available until 30 June 2022 – with new registrations being accepted until the end of May 2022 - register now online.

Importantly, the training retains particular relevance in the context of preparing for and responding to a range current and recent issues impacting the sector, including:

  • major flooding events across south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales
  • ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks
  • the 2022 influenza season.

Targeted at senior leaders of aged care providers, the training can help equip you with the knowledge, tools and confidence to build or strengthen your organisation’s emergency and crisis management capability and assist to better ensure continued delivery of safe and quality care in challenging situations.

The self-paced online modules are available now and are completely free for participants, with over 1,820 registrations to date. Participants who finish all modules will be able to print off a transcript upon completion of the course.

The training is delivered by First 5 Minutes and RiskLogic, supported by funding from the Department.

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