Thank you for continuing to stay up to date with the latest information via this newsletter.
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.
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
Single site activity period in New South Wales and Victoria
Single site arrangements are one of many infection control measures which can help to limit transmission of COVID-19. The Guidance on practical steps to prepare for and implement a single site workforce is contained in the National COVID-19 Aged Care Plan (Appendix H) and sets out actions for providers to take at various stages, in line with agreed escalation tiers.
Recent outbreaks have triggered the activation of single site working arrangements and associated support funding, in line with formal hotspot declarations from the Chief Medical Officer. Given the prolonged nature of these outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria, together with the presence of cases in residential aged care facilities, single site working arrangements should continue.
In line with the National COVID-19 Aged Care Plan, single site workforce arrangements will remain in in place until there are no cases in residents or staff in residential aged care facilities, and community transmission is considered lower risk for two weeks as reported in the common operating picture. When this occurs, the Department will issue advice alerting providers of this de-escalation and notifying of a two-week transition period to allow for rosters to be adjusted.
This means that current single site arrangements in New South Wales and Victoria will remain in place until this criteria is met, extending beyond the end-dates previously advised (all of NSW on 10 September and all of Victoria on 23 September). Transition out advice will be provided as soon as practicable from these dates. As the outbreak situation evolves, this advice may change for particular regional areas in New South Wales and Victoria, as distinct from metropolitan areas in Greater Sydney and Melbourne.
This includes continuing single site workforce arrangements in residential aged care facilities in parts of regional New South Wales where other restrictions may be easing in line with New South Wales’ Government announcements on 9 September. The Department will provide further advice on when providers in these areas can commence transitioning back to allowing staff to work at multiple sites.
Please continue to monitor this advice and contact the Guiding Principles Support Hub website or hotline on 1800 491 793 for any queries.
Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination reporting requirements for CHSP and NATSIFACP providers
Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP) home care providers will need to report and provide weekly updates every Tuesday on the COVID-19 vaccination status of the aged care workforce.
Starting on Tuesday 21 September 2021, all CHSP and NATSIFACP home care providers will be required to keep records of workforce COVID-19 vaccinations.
On Tuesday 5 October 2021, all CHSP and NATSIFACP home care providers will commence mandatory, weekly reporting 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.
If CHSP providers require administrative assistance to undertake this COVID-19 mandatory reporting requirement, they can submit an application through the CHSP Emergency Support for COVID-19 grant opportunity (GO3877).
Further information can be found in the updated CHSP Manual, the Fact Sheet – Guidance for in-home and community aged care providers and on the department’s website.
Multicultural stakeholder kit for residential aged care
The Department has produced a multicultural stakeholder kit about residential aged care worker COVID-19 vaccinations. The kit includes communication resources explaining the requirement for workers to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from 17 September 2021 as a condition of employment. Messages also address vaccine hesitancy and promote awareness of how workers can get vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible.
The kit includes videos, a newsletter article, social posts, website content and Q&As translated in to 14 languages.
You are encouraged to share this with your stakeholders and networks.
Wellbeing Webinar series for older people, their families and carers
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) are holding a three-part wellbeing webinar series featuring researchers, health and wellbeing specialists and people with lived experience to share their tips, ideas and suggestions with you, so you or an older person you know can support their physical, mental and emotional health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The series will talk through some of the challenges older people, their families and carers face and the supports available for you and an older person you know to help maintain your health and wellbeing, including:
- Challenges of COVID-19 lockdowns
- Wellbeing for people receiving aged care
- Impact of restrictions on specific communities
- Mental health challenges
- Support services available.
The first webinar in the series will be held on:
Tuesday 14 September at 11:30am (AEST).
More information about this series and how to register can be found on the OPAN website.
Qld Health - Restrictions lifted
The Queensland Government has announced that restrictions on residential aged care facilities in the Logan City LGA have now been lifted. There are no Qld LGAs listed as COVID-19 restricted areas for the Residential Aged Care Direction (No.7).
Keep up to date with the latest Restricted Areas Direction on the Qld Government website.