Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 update 30 September 2020

What’s new: emergency leave for aged care residents extended to 30 June 2021, access to emergency CHSP services during COVID-19 extended, updated Queensland Health restrictions and NSW Health advice for seniors: gathering safely.

Date published:
Health sector

Today’s newsletter includes information about the extended emergency leave arrangements for aged care residents and extended access to emergency CHSP services to 30 June 2021.

We’ve also included updated information from Queensland Health about easing of some restrictions, as well as new advice from NSW Health for people aged over 70 about socialising safely during the pandemic.

The fact sheet identifying symptoms of COVID-19 has been updated to include allergy symptoms – see the link under resources.

As always, many thanks to you and your teams for your continued support to protect older Australians.

Emergency leave for aged care residents extended to 30 June 2021

Emergency leave for aged care residents has been extended until 30 June 2021. This will allow aged care residents to continue to take emergency leave during the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than using and potentially exhausting their social leave entitlements. This will provide greater certainty to residents who have temporarily relocated to stay with family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residential aged care facilities will continue to be paid the residential care subsidy when residents are on emergency leave, ensuring neither residents nor providers are disadvantaged.

Tier 1 clinical support is available for residents who temporarily relocate from an aged care facility that is significantly impacted by COVID-19. This support covers personal care and nursing services equivalent to a Level 4 Home Care Package. To access this support, residents or their family can contact the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600.

Tier 2 Entry-level services are available for all people who decide to temporarily return to the community from their aged care home during the pandemic. This support covers meals, transport, individual social support, unaccompanied shopping, allied health and therapy services, and lower level nursing and personal care. To access this support, residents or their family can contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Further information is available:

Access to emergency CHSP services during COVID-19 extended to 30 June 2021

As part of the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the assessment and referral pathways for the CHSP were relaxed to enable older Australians to access emergency CHSP services for up to eight weeks without an assessment. This was previously extended to 31 October 2020.

As the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is at various stages throughout the country, these arrangements have been extended to 30 June 2021. During this period, access to CHSP service may be provided to older Australians in COVID-19 affected areas without an aged care assessment where there remains an urgent need.

CHSP providers who have delivered emergency COVID-19 support to clients for eight weeks without an aged care assessment, and where the client requires ongoing services, must now support these clients to be assessed by a Regional Assessment Service.

Registering clients with My Aged Care
It is a requirement that all clients in receipt of services are registered with My Aged Care, regardless of whether they have received an aged care assessment.

For more information about eligibility for emergency access to CHSP services please see Section 4.4.1 of the CHSP Program Manual 2020-2022.

Updated Queensland Health restrictions

COVID-19 restrictions have eased in Queensland. From 25 September 2020, there are no Local Government Areas listed as Queensland COVID-19 restricted areas. Further information is available from Queensland Health.

You should continue to keep up to date and regularly review your state and territory government directives.

NSW Health advice for seniors: gathering safely

There are no specific restrictions for people over 70 about self-isolating or staying home in NSW. Seniors can choose when and where to go out, or have visitors. However, people over 70 can have more severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19. NSW Health has developed top tips for safe gatherings for seniors.

For information specific to seniors, visit the NSW Government’s COVID-19 advice for seniors page or call the National COVID-19 older persons information line on 1800 171 866.


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