The information on this page is the latest information and resources for Residential Aged Care Facilities.

Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080

Healthdirect Hotline: 1800 022 222

Public Health Unit: 1300 066 055 

If you require clinical advice on matters relating to Communicable Diseases or other Public Health issues outside of normal hours, please contact your nearest Public Health Unit.

Bathurst: 0428 400 526

Dubbo: 0428 400 526

Broken Hill: 0419 917 426

CHO Letter to RACFs Regarding Melbourne COVID-19 Outbreak

The following letter was issued to RACFs following the surge of COVID-19 infections in Melbourne in June.

CHO Letter to RACFs 

Expand each section below for further information

Telehealth Services - Connect to Your GP

Western NSW Primary Health Network has gained approval from the Department of Health to expand the availability of telehealth video conferencing to General Practices and any eligible health provider in our footprint. 

This will benefit the members of our community that are at greater risk from the virus by enabling continued access to GPs and specialists, nurses and mental health allied health workers using this technology. 

This is being facilitated through the Healthdirect Video Calling platform which allows healthcare professionals to engage with their patients in their clinic’s online waiting area, rather than a physical one. 

Click here to access your GP's Telehealth Service

COVID-19 Information Specific to RACFs

Managing COVID-19 in the First 24 hours

WHEN YOU CAN AND CANNOT WORK

RACF Infection Prevention & Control

Outbreak Management Summary

COVID-19 Guidelines for Outbreaks in RACFs

COVID-19 - CDNA NATIONAL GUIDELINES FOR PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS

COVID-19 MANAGEMENT FLOWCHART

Guidance for symptom monitoring during the COVID-19 outbreak

NSW Health Secondary Triage Information for RACFs

NSW Health Secondary Triage Information -  for Healthcare Workers and GP's

NSW Health Secondary Triage - Information for Residents and their Families

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Risk-Based Regulatory Response

Support

RACF Support from Western NSW LHD

Visitors & Quality Care

Supporting safe, quality care for aged care consumers during visitor restrictions

Information for Families and Residents on Restricted Visits

FAQ's - Restrictions on entry into and visitors to aged care facilities

SUPPORTING VISITS AND CONTACT WITH FAMILY FOR INPATIENTS IN THE LAST DAYS OF LIFE

Aged Care Visitor Access Code

An Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 has been released by aged care peak bodies and consumer advocacy organisations.

The Code creates a nationally consistent approach that ensures residents can receive visitors while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. The Code was finalised after public consultation with consumers and aged care providers.

The Code includes the respective rights and responsibilities of providers, residents and visitors. It also outlines that residential aged care services should allow residents to meet their visitors in a way that minimises the risk of COVID-19 being introduced or spread within a residential facility.

Access the Code here

Security of tenure During COVID-19

Security of tenure for residents within an aged care facility differs during COVID-19.

If there is an instance of confirmed COVID-19 or suspected cases of COVID-19 in an aged care home, or where a resident wishes to return to an aged care home while suffering from or suspected to be suffering from COVID-19, there may be a need to temporarily move a resident to another room within a facility, or in some circumstances to a different care location.

These circumstances differ from the usual principles described in the User Rights Principles, as it would likely be considered an emergency situation in accordance with the principles.

If an aged care facility is not suitable for the isolation of a resident with COVID-19, the Public Health Orders require that person to travel directly to a suitable place to reside in until they are medically cleared. Compliance with the Public Health Orders would, therefore, permit residents to be moved to other appropriate care locations temporarily. The decision of whether an aged care facility is suitable is made by the State or Territory Public Health Unit in consultation with the aged care provider, resident and their family.

If a resident needs to be moved, this move should be made on a temporary basis in consultation with the resident and their family, and preferably with the resident’s agreement.

In situations, however, where an aged care facility wanted to permanently move a resident to a new room or out of the facility, then normal security of tenure arrangements apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Access Security of Tenure & User Rights Principles here

Emergency Leave for Aged Care Residents

Emergency Leave Information for Providers

Emergency Leave Information for Residents

Respite

While the Department continues to encourage service providers to accept clients in need of respite where safe to do so, all services must comply with social distancing measures.  Please also review infection control measures and social restriction requirements to ensure client safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

infection control measures

social restriction requirements

Information for Residential Respite Providers

Staff Working Multiple Assignments & Facilities

Guidelines for Staff Working Multiple Assignments and Facilities

Hospital Transfers, Re-Admissions and Entry Screening

Discharging new and returning residents during COVID-19

Re-admission of residents from other health facilities

In accordance with the recommendations of the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee (AHPPC), all residential aged care facilities should conduct active screening for symptoms of COVID-19 in residents being admitted or re-admitted from other health facilities. Residents admitted from other health facilities should be assessed by appropriate medical staff prior to admission to the facility. New residents with COVID-19 compatible symptoms should not be permitted to enter a residential aged care facility.

Residents who have been transferred to hospital for any reason, including COVID-19, should be readmitted to the facility as soon as they are well enough to be discharged from hospital.

Active screening, monitoring of symptoms and appropriate infection prevention and control practices remains of utmost importance for residents returning from treatment or care at other facilities.

To assist residential aged care facilities in managing the risk of introducing COVID-19 into a facility, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission provided advice to residential aged care facilities on entry screening advice for people entering residential aged care facilities.

Education Modules & Webinars

Four eLearning modules developed specifically for Aged Care Workers are now online.

These are:

  • Module 1: Personal Safety
  • Module 2: Families and Visitors
  • Module 3: COVID-19 and Aged Care
  • Module 4: Outbreak Management procedures

If you would like to access the Aged Care training, users will need to register their workplaces as ‘Aged Care’. If you have already registered for online training but not with ‘Aged Care’ as your workplace, email support@covid-19training.gov.au for a priority response.

Access the dEPARTMENT OF HEALTH COVID-19 TRAINING MODULES

PROPER HAND HYGIENE - INFECTION CONTROL

CEC COVID-19 PPE TRAINING VIDEOS

CEC BASIC PPE TRAINING VIDEOS

Department of Health Webinar May 8 2020

This webinar covers:

  • Practical insights into preparation for an outbreak
  • Covid-19 special payment
  • Aged Care Visitor Access Code
  • Protecting Older Australians Newsletter

Watch the Webinar Here

COVID-19 & Dementia

Dementia Australia has released four Help Sheets outlining tips for people living with dementia, carers, families and friends of people living with dementia, residential care providers and home care providers.

ACCESS THE DEMENTIA AUSTRALIA HELP SHEETS HERE

Managing Behaviours During a Pandemic

Dementia Australia - Tips for RACFs

Dementia Australia - Tips for People Living with Dementia

Advanced Care Planning

Advance Care Planning (ACP) enables a person to discuss and document the extent of medical intervention they wish to receive when in critical care or if approaching the end of their life.

ACP should be part of routine practice and with the increasing impact of COVID-19 on services, it is critical for clinical staff to proactively engage in these discussions with all patients and families.

Residential Aged Care Facilities are encouraged to ensure ACP information is available and up-to-date for residents.

Advance Care Planning and End of Life Care

Advance Care Planning Australia

Conversation Starters - A4 Poster

Video: Professor Katherine Clark - Palliative Care Advice

Ordering PPE Supplies

Aged care providers that require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must now email agedcarecovidppe@health.gov.au for all requests. Emails previously sent to the National Stockpile address don't need to be resent and have been captured in this new, dedicated aged care process.

All requests will be triaged by the Department of Health with priority given to facilities, programs and carers where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

Order PPE Supplies

COVID-19 Aged Care Support Programs

Workforce Retention Bonus

The COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program will reimburse eligible aged care providers for eligible expenditure incurred on managing direct impacts of COVID-19.

The Program will run over 2 years from 2019-20 to 2020-21.

The Program will assist Residential Aged Care, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program and Home Care Package providers that are subject to direct COVID-19 impacts, to deliver continuity of safe quality care for consumers.

Access the Aged Care Support Program Details  

The Australian Government is making a special COVID-19 payment to all residential aged care providers to further support their response to the coronavirus pandemic. The payment will be linked to the number of residents being cared for by the facility. Facilities outside major metropolitan areas will receive a 50 per cent loading to cover the additional costs of providing care in these areas. The amount will equate to $900 per resident in major metropolitan areas and around $1350 per resident in all other areas.

Access the Australian Government Payment Information here

Altura Learning, DASH Group and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) have partnered to provide an innovative solution to the workforce issues that have arisen in aged care since COVID-19.

The Aged Care Assistant (ACA) role has been created to provide aged care organisations with a surge workforce. The role is designed to provide direct assistance to your current staff to allow them to focus on continuity of care and service provision.

Access the Aged Care Assistant Employment Program here

Workforce Surge Measure

The Department has engaged Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) and Healthcare Australia (HCA) to provide surge workforce, commencing 1 July 2020, to ensure the continuity of aged care during COVID-19.

These arrangements complement the temporary surge workforce through Mable’s online platform www.mable.com.au , and the emergency response teams and remote locums through Aspen Medical that are already in place. The new services allow residential and home care providers to access a wider pool of workforce suppliers when looking to engage additional staff to supplement their workforce in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

If providers are unable to find all required staff through their usual arrangements, the workforce surge measures are in place to help providers find skilled workers to fill critical gaps or shortages.

These additional arrangements recognise the ongoing need of providers to readily access experienced and qualified staff when managing a COVID-19 outbreak.

Under the existing workforce measures, the Government will continue to pay the costs of staff deployed where a COVID-19 outbreak is experienced by an aged care provider and staff are engaged through Aspen Medical for emergency response teams and remote locums, and for staff engaged through Mable. Staff engaged through RCSA and HCA will be invoiced directly to the providers and may be reimbursed through the COVID-19 Aged Care Support Grant Program.

NSW Ambulance Authorised Care Plans During COVID-19

In response to the current demand on services regarding COVID-19, NSW Ambulance Models of Care Unit is changing the processing, endorsement and return of Authorised Care Plans.

Plans can be submitted via ambulance-authorisedcareplans@health.nsw.gov.au
Plan information can be accessed here

Letter of Notice - Change of Process from NSW Ambulance

COVID-19

Note: WNSW PHN is monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily and update and develop our pathways and links accordingly.

If you identify any errors or inconsistencies or are aware of any new or emerging critical changes that are relevant, please email the Media & Communications Coordinator.