Government support for providers and workers

We provide support to Australian Government-funded aged care services (residential and in-home care) during COVID-19 outbreaks. This includes additional personal protective equipment, workforce support and cost reimbursements.

Support a during COVID-19 outbreak

Australian Government-funded aged care services (residential and in-home care) experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak can access support with the 2023 COVID-19 Aged Care Support Grant.

The grant will continue to support eligible Commonwealth funded, approved providers of residential aged care and home care services with costs they have incurred due to COVID-19 outbreaks (or COVID-19 impacted home care recipients) between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023.

More information is available on the GrantConnect website.

Reporting COVID-19 cases

If a staff member or resident in your residential aged care home becomes positive with COVID-19 you are required to immediately notify the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.

All residential aged care providers are required to report all cases of COVID-19 through the COVID-19 Support Portal via the My Aged Care provider portal

Some state or territories may also require you to notify them of cases of COVID-19. To find out more about these requirements please refer to your state or territory health department.

Personal protective equipment

The Commonwealth can support residential aged care homes in the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the National Medical Stockpile (NMS).

The NMS is not a general supply line for PPE. It is for emergency purposes. Aged care providers should use their own supply of PPE first and only request extra supply when needed.

We will assess requests for PPE on a case-by-case basis and prioritise residential aged care homes that are experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. 

If you are a residential aged care home with a current outbreak or exposure and are unable to source PPE, please visit the My Aged Care Portal. To request emergency PPE, you must provide evidence of your attempts to source PPE from commercial and retail suppliers.

Winter 2023 PPE Deployment 

The Australian Government, through the NMS, has commenced deploying a 3-day supply of PPE to all residential aged care homes and expect deliveries to be completed late May 2023.

DHL will attempt to contact residential aged care homes 3 times to discuss delivery of the winter PPE packs. If DHL is unable to confirm with your service after 3 attempts, the Department will make a follow-up call. If the Department cannot confirm acceptance of the pack, residential aged care homes will be considered as opted out for the 2023 winter PPE pack.

If you are not contacted by DHL by 30 April 2023, please contact the Department by email at  

Pack sizes will be based on resident numbers and similar to the 2022-23 summer packs with expiry dates of PPE covering the winter season until at least 31 August 2023. 

Providers are responsible for maintaining a PPE supply through existing commercial channels but can request emergency packs during deployment through the My Aged Care portal if required for an outbreak. 

Rapid Antigen Tests kits – continuing supply for residential aged care homes

We are continuing to supply weekly Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits to residential aged care homes through the NMS.

Each week, we deliver RAT kits to every residential aged care home in Australia.   This quantity is determined by the number of staff, residents and visitors expected at the aged care home. This regular weekly deployment should form part of your surveillance screening of at least 2 times per week and not more than 72 hours apart for staff, or on entry for each visitor.

It is inappropriate for facilities to charge residents, workers, or visitors for the use of these RATs.

All residential aged care homes will receive these RAT kits by default. To opt out of these weekly deliveries, providers can request to be removed from the dispatch list. To request removal from the dispatch list, please email

Visitors can also use their own RAT kits prior to their visit and may be asked to provide evidence of their test result.

Residential aged care homes that have purchased RAT kits at their own expense to perform RAT screening of visitors and staff during an outbreak up to 31 December 2022 may apply for reimbursement through the COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program Extension Grant (GO4863).

COVID-19 pathology in-reach testing in residential aged care

Residential aged care homes must have preparedness plans in place to ensure a prompt response to an outbreak of COVID-19 or other acute respiratory infection. These plans should include established formalised arrangements for accessing necessary pathology testing, including PCR tests, through general practitioners (GPs) and nurse practitioners and usual pathology providers

If PCR testing is required, requests must be from a GP or nurse practitioner, who has determined the testing is necessary to inform the clinical management of a patient, or where a public health unit (or public health authority) determines it is necessary to support COVID-19 outbreak management activities and the clinical care needs of residents.

Where a residential aged care home is unable to access PCR testing through its usual pathology provider , we will provide access to COVID-19 pathology in-reach testing through Sonic Healthcare (Sonic), where COVID-19 has been detected:

Sonic provides priority sample collection and testing for suspected cases of COVID-19 in residential aged care homes and is available for both residents and staff.

If COVID-19 pathology in-reach testing is necessary, the Department of Health and Aged Care, in consultation with your relevant local Public Health Unit (PHU) will make arrangements for Sonic to attend to perform COVID-19 PCR testing.

Requests for COVID-19 pathology in-reach testing through Sonic must be requested through the Department (excluding South Australia and Western Australia as they source their own testing pathways).

The service is operating nationally until 30 April 2023.

Pathways for PCR testing from 1 May 2023

From 1 May 2023, residential aged care homes will continue to have access to COVID-19 PCR testing through standard Medicare arrangements, where GPs, and nurse practitioners can directly request, by referral, a COVID-19 and respiratory PCR tests from a pathology provider to assist with the clinical management of patients.

Any COVID-19 PCR testing under Medicare must be bulk-billed and at no cost to aged care homes or patients.

Surge Workforce

We provide surge workforce and supplementation measures to support approved aged care providers who are impacted by COVID-19. The surge workforce provides temporary support to providers who are impacted by staff isolation or infection.

The supports available include:

  • access to a temporary surge workforce to help providers when existing staff are infected or isolating
  • emergency response teams, who are on standby if there is a significant outbreak in a residential aged care facility.

If you wish to access COVID-19 aged care surge workforce support that is funded by the Commonwealth, you must exhaust all your existing partnerships and recruitment channels.

The surge workforce is not a long-term arrangement.

We consider surge workforce requests on a case-by-case basis, and the availability of surge workforce support is dependent on the availability of staffing resources.

Once an outbreak of COVID-19 is declared and we have been notified, the Department of Health and Aged Care will contact you to discuss your workforce strategies and the need for surge workforce support.

For further information, see Coronavirus (COVID-19) aged care workforce measures frequently asked questions.

Support for managing COVID-19 related costs

The Australian Government has committed funding for the 2023 COVID -19 Aged Care Support Grant.

The grant will continue to support eligible Commonwealth funded, approved providers of residential and home care services with costs they have incurred due to COVID-19 outbreaks (or COVID-19 impacted home care recipients) between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023.

More information is available on the GrantConnect website.

Aged Care Worker COVID-19 leave payment grants

From 1 July 2023, a new grant will be available to support permanent or casual aged care workers caring for older Australians most at risk of severe illness.

Australian Government funded residential aged care and home care providers will be able to apply for reimbursement of up to $750 per week for payments they have made (from 1 April 2023) to permanent or casual employees that have no personal leave entitlements available and need to take leave because they have tested positive to COVID-19.

This will help to encourage staff who test positive to COVID-19 to stay home while unwell and protect older Australians in their care.

Read more about aged care worker COVID-19 leave payment grants.

More information is available on the GrantConnect website.

Mental health supports

We provide grief and trauma response for people in the aged care sector who have been affected by COVID-19. This helps to make sure that support is available through several organisations:

  • Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement
  • Phoenix Australia
  • Dementia Support Australia.

The support includes improved advocacy assistance as well as grief and bereavement counselling.

Staff also have access to training in:

  • trauma-informed care and self-care
  • post-COVID-19 support for aged care recipients living with dementia
  • post-COVID-19 support for people with adverse physical, social and psychological impacts.

Free webinars are available on grief and trauma:

Visit Head to Health for information about mental health and digital support.

A range of digital and telehealth support services are available for help with mental health during the pandemic. The Australian Government strengthened these services to include vulnerable people and those with severe and complex needs.


Publications and fact sheets


Online training

A 30-minute online module – COVID-19 infection control training module is available for care workers across all health care settings. It includes training specific to aged care.

Other training modules include:

  • personal safety
  • families and visitors – residential care
  • families and visitors – in-home care
  • COVID-19 and aged care
  • outbreak management procedures
  • personal protective equipment
  • laundry
  • if you suspect a person has COVID-19.

These modules take 5 to 10 minutes each. You will receive an acknowledgement of completion certificate for each module.

This training is hosted on an external site, provided by our COVID-19 training partner Aspen Medical.

Register now

Staying informed

To stay up to date on aged care and COVID-19:

You can also read our COVID-19 advice for:

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