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COVID-19 Planning, preparedness and management

On this page:

 

Outbreak Planning and Management

ACSA's Member Support Platform includes the free COVID-19 Preparedness Tool. This set of supports is designed to add rigour to testing your organisation's preparedness in relation to infection controls and respiratory outbreak plans, as well as identifying any gaps. Designed based on the guidelines provided by the Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

Access the Department of Health guidelines, First 24 hours - managing COVID-19 in a residential aged care facility, detailing what steps to take and when following the identification of a COVID-19 positive case.

 

Visitor Restrictions

The Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 has been released by 13 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 includes the respective rights and responsibilities of providers, residents and visitors. It outlines that homes should allow residents to meet their visitors in ways that minimise the risk of COVID-19's introduction to, or spread within, a residential care home.

OPAN have developed a print resource which can be given to anyone visiting your facility who has concerns about the Visitor Code, or anyone who is trying to visit a resident but is unable to because of the facility's current protocols.

 

Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT)

In recent weeks, Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) in residential aged care facilities has been piloted as an additional tool to help detect COVID-19 in people with no symptoms. RAT has been used internationally and for some time in other Australian industries. The tests are easy to use with results available within 15 minutes. The use of RAT is only one measure that could be used as part of a provider's screening and Infection Prevention & Control programs.

There are a number of tests approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) and listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

ACSA has developed some general guidance materials about the use of RAT in aged care:

We are passing on to members, an offer from Australian distributor MD Solutions Australasia Pty Ltd, of an agreed special price of $6.95 per test item for aged care providers to the RAT manufactured by CTK Biotech Inc (USA). The test is distributed by MD Solutions Australasia Pty Ltd.  ACSA members can connect with MD Solutions to access the agreed special price by using this order form.

Administering RAT

The TGA has specified a range of conditions that must be adhered to when utilising RAT. These include the nature of supervision and training that is required to undertake testing. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions on the TGA site. They deal with issues such as the role of the health practitioner, training of staff, and models of testing supervision. For example, a health practitioner, medical practitioner or paramedic must be available (either in person, or available on the phone or by videoconference) to provide assistance or advice, as required, to people under their supervision in the correct use of the device and the interpretation of the test results.  MD Solutions is able to assist providers to determine if they comply with these requirements.

Providers who don’t have access to a health practitioner qualified to administer the test, or are unsure if their personnel are qualified and who want to administer the tests, will need to contact organisations who can provide this service to you. ACSA is aware that Aspen and Remote Global offer such services, or you can contact your own Corporate health provider.

ACSA is providing this information for members to investigate the use of RATs and to make their own decision as to whether to acquire and determine if it is appropriate to implement the use of the RAT in their care service.  All providers are responsible to determine the appropriate RAT for their circumstances and to ensure they take all necessary steps to meet all of the TGA requirements as to the acquisition and use of RATs.  Providers are responsible to take their own advice and implement their own protocols, procedures and resources in relation to the acquisition and utilisation of the RATs in their care service.  ACSA is not responsible for any issues that arise from the use of the RAT by any provider.  ACSA discloses it will receive a nominal fee from MDSolutions in relation to the development of the Procedure Protocol.

 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

To order PPE, aged care providers must email agedcarecovidppe@health.gov.au for all requests. The following information must be included in your email request:

  • The facility, program or service requiring PPE;
  • If you have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your facility, program or service;
  • Types and quantities of PPE required; and
  • Details of other suppliers you have attempted to source PPE stock from.


ACSA Procurement is available to ACSA members and non-members, offering a simple and competitive online procurement alternative.

Wearing PPE in aged care: Alison McMillan, Australia's Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, demonstrates how and when to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) for aged care workers. Watch the video

When to wear PPE in aged care: Department of Health PPE resource for workers in both residential aged care and in-home care settings. Download now

A Guide to buying P2 or equivalent respirators: Australian Institute of Occuptational Hygienists. Download now

 

Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) Lead Toolkit

To support ACSA's members through Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) reporting, ACSA is pleased to announce a partnership with Bug Control Infection Control Advisory Service. Bug Control are offering ACSA members a free 30-minute consult and in collaboration with ACSA, have helped to develop a range of tools and resources:

 

Communications principles and templates

ACSA has created a document for aged care providers to support internal and external communications to residents, family and friends, and staff during the pandemic. This document includes guidance in creating or revising your communications plan prior to, and in the event of an outbreak, including key principles of crisis management for you to consider. Template letters are also provided to offer suggestions on messaging, timing and frequency and we encourage members to adapt and use these as necessary.

These templates have been created with support from Essential Media and the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre to provide members with comprehensive communications guidance.

 

Information for Retirement Village Operators

A range of resources and information are available for retirement village operators relating to coronavirus and how this can be managed within your organisation.

Note that as retirement villages are governed by their respective State or Territory retirement village legislation, Commonwealth Government directions relating to aged care do not apply to villages