Supporting the return of visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs)
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has outlined the principles to remove restrictions on visitation to RACFs across Australia.
In a joint media release, the Minister for Health and Aged Care,
Greg Hunt and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services,
Richard Colbeck, welcomed the endorsement of these principles and encouraged states and territories to implement these principles through their public health orders.
Minister Hunt states that “aged care providers have a responsibility to support the wellbeing of their residents and we know this can be improved through face-to-face visits, whether it be family, friends, advocates or people providing cultural or community support.”
The AHPPC strongly encourages all visitors to receive both doses of a
COVID-19 vaccine before visiting a loved one.
Decisions to limit visitation must be proportionate and take into account the impacts of social isolation on resident health and wellbeing. Access should only be limited if a facility is directly affected by an outbreak.
Minister Colbeck said “Where restrictions have been reduced, I urge residential aged care providers to take every step to support visitors such as screening visitors at entry, encouraging the use of masks, and monitoring the use of common areas to support social distancing.”
Work to update guidance will also be undertaken including updates to the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 and the National Aged Care Visitation Guidelines.
The AHPPC advice on visitation can be found here.
Aged care providers can access the Aged Care Visitation guidelines here.
The Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 can be found here.
Mandatory reporting on COVID-19 vaccination for all CHSP and NATSIFACP providers
Mandatory reporting starts today, 5 October 2021, for all Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP) home care providers to report and provide weekly updates every Tuesday on the COVID-19 vaccination status of the aged care workforce.
Reporting is via the My Aged Care portal for providers.
The new reporting requires CHSP and NATSIFACP home care providers to record de-identified data at a service level on the:
- total number of workers at each aged care service, and of those,
- the number of workers at each service who have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- the number of workers at each service who have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Special COVID-19 national webinar for all in-home and community aged care providers
All in-home and community aged care providers are invited to participate in a special live webinar with the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP and the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck on Friday 8 October 2021 from 1 pm – 2 pm AEDT.
This webinar will address:
- Priority COVID-19 vaccination channels for in-home and community aged care workers
- Changes to vaccine eligibility for in-home and community aged care workers and care recipients
- Mandatory My Aged Care reporting requirements on workforce COVID-19 vaccination for in-home and community aged care providers
- Monitoring and compliance activity for in-home and community aged care provider reporting.
Minister Hunt and Minister Colbeck will be joined by the following Commonwealth Department of Health representatives:
- Dr Nick Hartland, Acting, Deputy Secretary, Ageing and Aged Care Group
- Ms Helen Grinbergs, First Assistant Secretary, Services Delivery Division
- Ms Lisa Peterson, Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Vaccine Aged Care
A Q&A session will be included in the live webinar.
The details to join the webinar are provided below:
Event number: 2652 760 1804
Event password: 987654 (987654 from phones)
Join by phone: +61-2-9338-2221 Australia Toll
Access code: 265 276 01804