This latest newsletter includes details for a webinar on the Guiding Principles and a statement by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner on their significant growth in regulatory activities relating to aged care in the context of COVID-19.
Also included is updated advice from Queensland Health regarding restrictions for residential aged care facilities, and information for clients, families and carers on accessing CHSP services during COVID-19.
Additionally, there is a reminder to all providers for workers to stay home when they are unwell and to ensure they have completed infection control training.
We thank you for your continued hard work to protect older Australians and encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce.
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.
Webinar: Guiding Principles in Victoria
Following the Government’s announcement on 31 August 2020 regarding the 4-week extension of the Support for Aged Care Workforce in COVID-19 (SACWIC) grant, providers located in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are invited to attend a Zoom webinar co-hosted by the Department of Health and provider peak bodies.
The Guiding Principles Webinar is for providers in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire who have implemented single site arrangements as set out in the Guiding Principles. The webinar will provide practical guidance on how to apply for SACWIC funding, as detailed in the grant opportunity guidelines. The grant is open now, with guidelines available on the GrantConnect website.
The Guiding Principles webinar will be held on 8 September 2020 at 14:00 AEST (Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney). Make sure you register in advance to attend the webinar.
Statement from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner on regulatory activities relating to aged care in the context of COVID-19
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner has released a statement regarding the growth in site visits and regulatory activities in the context of COVID-19. The Commission has conducted more than 1,100 site visits to aged care services since January 2020, including 410 visits to check infection control practices. The Commission modified its regulatory program in March 2020 to focus additional effort where it is needed most to ensure that providers are doing everything possible to keep aged care consumers safe.
The Commission is working with state and territory governments and their local health authorities across the nation to monitor and test preparedness of aged care residential services. The approach is drawing on lessons learned from outbreaks in NSW and Victoria to ensure that all services nationally have well-tested plans, adequate training and infection control practices to minimise infection risks.
See the full statement.
Updated aged care directions in Queensland
In response to recently announced cases of COVID-19 in Queensland, additional restrictions have been put in place for residential aged care facilities in specific Local Government Areas (LGAs). A list of restricted LGAs is available on the Queensland Health website. The updated restrictions apply to visitors, residents and staff and include:
- No personal visitors, including care and support visitors are allowed to enter
- Only persons providing an essential purpose will be allowed to enter
- End of life visits will still be allowed
- Anyone entering a facility must wear a single use surgical face mask
- Cannot leave the residential aged care facility unless they are receiving health care, attending a funeral or for an emergency or for compassionate reasons
- The residential aged care facility or the Chief Health Officer can provide an exemption for leave on compassionate reasons
- Residential aged care facility operators must make sure staff do not work across multiple facilities as much as possible
The full advice is outlined on the Queensland Health website.
Updated fact sheet – Accessing CHSP services during COVID-19
Updated information about accessing Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) services during the COVID-19 pandemic has been released and can be found here.
The fact sheet details information for clients, families and carers and covers topics such as mental health supports, grocery and home services supports, social gatherings and moving out of care during the pandemic.
Reminders – stay home when unwell, and infection control training
Providers are reminded that everyone working in aged care should stay at home if unwell, even with mild symptoms, and get tested for COVID-19.
Providers are also reminded of the need 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.
This includes a module on outbreak management, which takes approximately 8 minutes to complete. By the end of the module participants will be able to:
- identify what a COVID-19 outbreak is
- demonstrate the appropriate infection prevention control measures for a COVID-19 outbreak
- explain how to isolate and cohort residents during a COVID-19 outbreak
- identify appropriate cleaning and waste disposal procedures during a COVID-19 outbreak.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a priority response.
Additional resources on correct PPE use can also be found on the Department of Health’s website, including a video demonstrating how to wear PPE for aged care workers.