Type: 
Newsletter
Intended Audience: 
Health sector

Today is Aged Care Employee Day. We begin this newsletter with a message of sincere thanks to our extraordinary aged care workforce who continue to protect and care for our older Australians during these difficult times.

This edition contains information on the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 grant, which is now open. We are also reminding providers that the extended Workforce Retention Bonus round closes on August 14.

We have included information on the dispatch of face shields to residential aged care facilities in Victoria.

The AHPPC has released a new statement supporting additional measures in Victoria.

Anyone living in an aged care facility, their family or representative who needs support should contact the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600.

Friday 7 August is Aged Care Employee Day

With the aged care workforce at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic working tirelessly to care for and protect our most vulnerable, it has never been more important to acknowledge and celebrate the work that our valued employees and volunteers do.

Visit the Aged Care Employee Day 2020 website for more information.

Opening of the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) grant opportunity

The Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) Grant Opportunity is designed to minimise the risk of infection to aged care workers, residents and other consumers of aged care services.

The Grant is now open to approved Residential Aged Care providers, approved National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP) providers and approved Home Care providers, initially limited to Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

Examples of eligible workforce costs under SACWIC are those that will support eligible workers:

  • who normally work at multiple residential aged care facilities, but will be working solely at the facility being applied for
  • who are not able to work because they have been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have been diagnosed as COVID-19 positive, require testing or are subject to self-isolation or quarantine requirements 
  • who are undertaking training in the event a skills gap arises when existing workers are unable to work due to experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or self-isolation or quarantine requirements.

You can view the Grant Opportunity and documentation at Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (GO4215) Program.

There is further help available at the Guiding Principle Support Hub or you can call 1800 491 793 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm).

Dispatch of face shields in Victoria

In line with the Minister for Health’s announcement on face shields, single use face shields have been distributed from the National Medical Stockpile to all residential aged care facilities in Victoria, with priority distribution to Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

Services should now have received a delivery of single use face shields and surgical masks from the National Medical Stockpile. All Victorian residential aged care facilities have been contacted via email this week about the distribution of face shields and masks.

We are requesting the CEO, facility manager or nominated contact, reply to the department’s email confirming you have received your allocation of PPE. Alternatively, if you have not received an initial dispatch of face shields please notify us immediately via email to agedcarecovidppe [at] health.gov.au.

All aged care workers in areas of significant COVID-19 community transmission, are advised to wear a face shield, in addition to a surgical face mask, as a precautionary measure while they are at work.

The use of PPE such as masks and face shields is vital in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Read the guide to face shield use.

Allocations are being made in 2 deliveries, Tranche 1 between 30 and 31 July 2020 and Tranche 2 between 3 and 10 August 2020.

If you urgently need PPE and cannot source surgical masks or face shields before the Tranche 2 supplies arrive, or you continue to have trouble sourcing PPE, please submit an online application.

If you have a general enquiry about PPE, please email agedcarecovidppe [at] health.gov.au.

AHPPC supports additional measures to improve the current state of the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has issued a statement on the additional measures announced in Victoria to manage the spread of COVID-19.

The AHPPC shares the concern expressed by Victoria on the current state of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Commonwealth and jurisdictions have been assisting Victoria with the public health response.

The AHPPC supports Victoria’s announcement that restrictions will be intensified and broadened geographically. This means implementing more extensive restrictions in areas with community transmission and some further restrictions in regional Victoria.

Read the full AHPPC statement.

Workforce retention bonus payment

The workforce retention payments grant round has been extended and will now close at 2pm on 14 August 2020.

The workforce retention payment rewards eligible aged care workers by offering a retention payment bonus.  Employers must apply to receive the grant funding which they then pass on to eligible workers.  The grant funding will be provided to employers in two rounds with the first round of payments currently under way and the second to be made from late September.

Applications still to be made should be based on eligible hours worked for July.

To ensure that applications can be processed promptly providers are reminded to include their provider ID and service ID on the Staffing Profile Spreadsheet supplied on the GrantConnect website.

A reminder that the September payment will equal the first payment (as explained in the Letter of Agreement). A variation is only required if there is a decrease of 10% or more of the overall payment or any increase in overall payment. Further details of this can be found in the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

Further details of the variation process and the related declaration will be available on the Health website shortly.

All information regarding this grant opportunity can be found on the GrantConnect website. In addition we have Retention Bonus FAQs to assist providers and their employees.

Provider enquiries on the application may be submitted in writing to: grant.ATM [at] health.gov.au.

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