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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.

 

Facilitating Visitation During The COVID-19 Pandemic

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.

ACSA and LASA have developed a Visitation in Residential Aged Care Facilities Checklist - Key Considerations. This document outlines key considerations for the adoption of relevant guidance around visitation in residential aged care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been developed following recent updates to the CDNA guidance on visitation.

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)

Rapid Antigen Testing can be an additional tool to help detect COVID-19 in people with no symptoms. The tests are easy to use with results available within 15 minutes. 

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 $6.50 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 (Word or PDF) and using the Code ACSA followed by your State/Territory e.g. ACSASA, ACSANSW.

To order RAT supplies through MD Solutions, please complete the following order form and send to:


Please note that MD Solutions now also offer a self-administered test which has been approved by the TGA. This can be used by staff and visitors alike without the need for oversight by a registered health practitioner.  This is, for many employers, a more convenient method however care must be taken to ensure the process is not compromised e.g. through provision of the test to staff and visitors once they are onsite in order for them to self-administer in the car for example.

Please note that RAT is not endorsed for COVID screening in all jurisdictions and RACF’s wishing to employ RAT must ensure this method of screening is approved for use by their respective state or territory health departments. You must adhere to standard operating protocols and checklists, use acceptable approved Rapid Antigen Test kits, and follow reporting requirements as determined by your state/territories Health Department.

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

 

Interim Guidance on managing workforce

The Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer has approved an interim framework to support decision making when determining whether to place work restrictions on aged care workers. This guidance follows the updated advice issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. Download the Interim Guidance on managing workforce in regards to COVID-19 in aged care.

 

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

Workplace Health & Safety Links for Covid-19

A selection of Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) resources have been collected to provide updated information to our members under the topics of, WHS & Covid-19 state-based webinars, Department of Health guidelines for P2/N95 masks, Fit-testing requirements and resources and Managing fatigue.

  • Work, Health, Safety and COVID-19 What you need to know NSW/ACT/QLD Webinar. Recording:

To view a copy of the recording please click here

  • Work, Health, Safety and COVID-19 What you need to know SA/NT/WA. Recording:

To view a copy of the recording please click here

  • Work, Health, Safety and COVID-19 What you Need to Know VIC/TAS Webinar. Recording:

To view a copy of the recording please click here

State and territory Department Of Health guidelines on when P2/N95 masks should be worn:
Australian Government - NC19CET-Decison-Aid-Respiratory-and-Eye-Protection-v1.0.pdf (covid19evidence.net.au) & Minimising the risk of infectious respiratory disease transmission in the context of COVID-19: the hierarchy of controls (health.gov.au)
NSW – Chapter 4 - COVID-19 IPAC manual (Version 2.1) (nsw.gov.au)
QLD – Pandemic response guidance - PPE in residential aged care and disability accommodation | Queensland Health & Pandemic response guidance: Escalation of personal protective equipment usage in healthcare delivery, community health and care services, in-home care settings, and for healthcare delivery in correctional services
ACT – Managing COVID-19 exposures and outbreaks in residential aged care facilities - COVID-19 (act.gov.au) & Managing COVID-19 in other disability care settings - COVID-19 (act.gov.au) (home care equivalent)
VIC – Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE guidance for RACF Factsheet (Word) | health.vic.gov.au & Fact sheet for community and non-residential disability services (17 March 2022) & COVID-19: A guide to the conventional use of personal protective equipment (PPE) March 2022
TAS – Recommended guidance on managing an exposure or outbreak in a residential aged cared facility | Tasmanian Department of Health
SA – COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Decision Matrix Protocol (sahealth.sa.gov.au) & Primary and Community HCW PPE guide
WA - Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines for Western Australian Residential Care Facilities (Version 2.1 - 23 March 2022) & Personal protective equipment for workers in community settings (health.wa.gov.au)

Fit-testing requirements for P2/N95 masks
NSW - Chapter 4 - COVID-19 IPAC manual (Version 2.1) (nsw.gov.au)
QLD - Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) | WorkSafe.qld.gov.au
TAS - Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during an outbreak of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities | Tasmanian Department of Health
VIC - Managing coronavirus (COVID-19) risks: Healthcare and social assistance industry – Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) - WorkSafe
SA - Fit testing and fit checking of RPE | SafeWork SA
WA - Information sheet - Respiratory protective equipment - Fit testing requirements | Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (commerce.wa.gov.au)
Australian Department of Health - Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers in the context of COVID-19

Types of fit-testing
Qualitative – 3M https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/992396O/3m-fit-test-kit-training-video.mp4
NSW Clinical Excellence Commission – Fit testing
PortaCount fit testing of P2 or N95 disposable respirator - Video 2A – https://youtu.be/F3uD4MoPoyc
AccuFIT fit testing of P2 or N95 respirators - Video 2B - https://youtu.be/6lKSZQ8n5-c

Fit-testing providers
3M Centre for Respiratory Protection – Fit Testing
RESP-FIT accredited fit testers

Fit Checking P2/N95 masks
NSW Clinical Excellence Commission - Airborne Precautions - Donning and Fit Checking of Respirators:
Overview https://youtu.be/X5cSieWngLM
KN95 Cupped Respirator https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-bZJjgLZYg
Duckbill style P2 or N95 respirator https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OloUcaHPKSQ
Cupped respirator https://youtu.be/LRNTtle2Tuc
Flat fold respirator https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD_t1HLP3MI
Foldable respirator https://youtu.be/rzaEOY345q4
Particulate filter respirators (P2/N95 respirators) | Queensland Health
Fit Check for P2/N95 respirator (health.qld.gov.au)
Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) (health.vic.gov.au)

Managing Fatigue
SafeWork NSW - Fatigue | SafeWork NSW
WHSQ - Fatigue | WorkSafe.qld.gov.au
SafeWork SA - Fatigue | SafeWork SA
WorkSafe Tasmania - Fatigue (worksafe.tas.gov.au)
WorkSafe Victoria - Risk management approach to fatigue - WorkSafe
WorkSafe ACT - Fatigue - WorkSafe ACT
WorkSafe WA - Fatigue | Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (commerce.wa.gov.au)