Information for residential respite providers during COVID-19

Aged care providers must be alert and prepared for a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in their residential aged care facility and how this might impact their residential respite clients. This page sets out the measures that should be in place to manage residential respite clients during an outbreak.

Respite during COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 outbreaks in the community, people who need respite may:

  • be unable to access this service
  • choose to enter, extend, or exit respite.

These changes may be due to isolation or quarantine requirements, health advice or other factors.

Some providers may restrict access to respite care at their service to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, we encourage providers to continue accepting people who need residential respite care.

Restrictions on residential aged care visitors help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please refer to these guidelines:

During a COVID-19 outbreak, providers should:

  • discuss the care recipient’s care needs with the care recipients and their families
  • help care recipients apply for approvals if they need to extend their respite care period.

Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessments

ACATs are taking a flexible approach to the delivery of assessments during the coronavirus pandemic.

ACATs will assess clients based on local circumstances and client choices. The team should offer face-to-face assessments when it is possible and safe. However, ACATs have protocols for telephone assessments if there is a local outbreak.

If necessary, ACATs can use emergency provisions under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) during a COVID-19 outbreak.

Period of respite care and extensions

During a COVID-19 emergency lockdown, a client may need to extend their stay in residential respite care. This may occur if they have been suddenly quarantined in a residential aged care facility.

If you are unable to submit a respite extension request through the Service Provider Portal, seek ACAT assistance. Read more about managing residential respite care allowances.

Increasing or varying the number of respite days

We have streamlined the provider application process to increase (or vary) the number of residential respite days at a facility. This is to assist aged care providers to respond to demand for respite care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can now apply by email to change the maximum number of residential respite days. You should email state or territory Department of Health page of the residential aged care facility.

The state/territory office email addresses are:

An email request to increase the number of respite days should include:

  • the service name
  • total number of respite days required
  • date of effect.

The relevant state or territory office will notify you of the outcome by email.

Additional information

Any existing direction or request from state or territory governments for flu vaccinations apply to care recipients in residential respite.

The My Aged Care provider portal user guide provides instructions on:

Resources

Publications and fact sheets

Staying informed

We have an aged care COVID-19 newsletter called ‘Protecting Older Australians’ which provides up to date advice on matters relating to COVID-19 in aged care.

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

Your local public health agency for more information on the latest advice and resources in your state or territory.

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