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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Emergency Planning

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The World Health Organization’s website offers information about coronavirus, and has made available a free online course for healthcare workers and public health professionals on the preparation and response to cases of coronavirus.

You can find a range of links to relevant information at the bottom of the page.

 

The Department of Health continues to produce it's daily COVID-19 newsletter, Protecting Older Australians. These updates will be sent daily to those subscribed to the Department's mailing list. If you are not already registered to receive aged care updates from the Department of Health, ACSA strongly recommends you subscribe now.

All Protecting Older Australians updates are also accessible here.
 

 

Latest News

ACSA COVID-19 Webinar - Home Care: Practical support for making it work

2 April: Join ACSA’s home care specialist consultant Anna Millicer at a free webinar tailor-made for home care providers that gives a broad and practical perspective on all things COVID-19. There will be plenty of time for participants to ask questions in the webinar’s open forum. A handy FAQ resource will also be available after the webinar to support you over the coming months. Tuesday 7 April, 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST. Register now

Influenza vaccinations: Restrictions on entry into aged care facilities

1 April: The department has released further information to assist residential aged care providers to understand the entry restrictions to aged care facilities that related to 2020 influenza vaccinations. The Frequently Asked Questions document can be found on the department's website.

Retention bonus for residential aged care and home care workers - further information

1 April: Further to the Department of Health’s 31 March 2020 daily COVID-19 update, ACSA sought clarification from the Department areound the retention bonus and has received a response. Read more

JobKeeper payment: information for employers and employees

31 March: The JobKeeper Payment is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus. The JobKeeper Payment will also be available to the self-employed. The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months. Employers must elect to participate in the scheme. The subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May. Businesses will be able to register their interest in participating in the Payment from 30 March 2020 on the ATO websiteRead more

Aged care temporary subsidy increases

31 March: The Government has legislated temporary subsidy increases to give effect to measures announced on 20 March 2020 by the Prime Minister of temporary increases in additional funding for both residential and home care providers. The increased funding is to support continuity of the aged care workforce due to the impacts from COVID-19.

The additional funding will help ensure the viability of residential and home care providers. This support to maintain workforce continuity will be provided through temporary increases in aged care payments from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020 inclusive. The temporary increases in aged care funding are:

  • Home care basic subsidy increased by 1.2 per cent (rounded);
  • Residential care basic subsidy increased by 1.2 per cent (rounded);
  • Homeless supplement in residential care increased by 30 per cent (rounded); and
  • Viability supplement in residential and home care increased by 30 per cent (rounded).

Support to keep people active + healthy as COVID-19 restrictions continue

29 March: Senior Australians and young people will benefit from a $1.1 billion funding package aimed at ensuring they stay healthy and connected during the campaign to stop the spread of COVID19. The additional boost announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison will target mental health services, domestic violence support, Medicare assistance for people at home and emergency service relief.

Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck said the package provided targeted support for those who needed it most. It includes $10 million for a Community Visitors Scheme to help ensure Senior Australians are not socially isolated as a result of visitor restrictions. Read more

Whole of population telehealth for patients, GPs, primary care and medical specialists

29 March: To provide continued access to essential primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government is expanding Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians and providing extra incentives to general practitioners and other health practitioners. These changes represent the fourth stage of a series of primary care measures and will commence from 8am Monday 30 March. Read more

Aged care activities pause due to COVID-19

27 March: With considerable resources from the aged care sector and Government now required in the campaign to keep senior Australians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, several long term measures will be put on hold for at least six months. 

The Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) assessment trial, the 2020 Aged Care Approval Round and the implementation of the home care payment alignment project will all be postponed as the Morrison Government deals with an unprecedented health emergency. Read more

Restrictions to visiting residential aged care facilities

25 March: We know a number of States & Territories have published their declarations on restrictions to visiting residential aged care facilities. In some cases these restrictions go beyond what was announced by the Prime Minister last week. ACSA has convened and is working with consumer representatives, LASA and the Guild to provide some more guidance for members. The current situation is:

  • The guidance provided by the Prime Minister on visitation restrictions is based on the minimum requirements advised to the National Cabinet by the AHPPC. This guidance is to be observed by all residential aged care facilities;
  • In some circumstances, residential aged care facilities may introduce further measures or restrictions in response to their individual local risk factors. However, the rationale for additional measures will need to be clearly articulated and implementation needs to be done in consultation with residents and families; and
  • Where State or Territory Governments have provided additional direction to residential aged care providers about additional COVID-19 protection measures (including further reductions to visitation) they will need to considered by the facility, implemented as required, and included as part of the rationale for escalation of additional protection measures.

Update on coronavirus measures from the National Cabinet meeting

24 March: Australian governments are working together to slow the spread of coronavirus to save lives. Every extra bit of time allows us to better prepare our health system and put measures in place to protect Australian lives. We will be living with this virus for at least six months, so social distancing measures to slow this virus down must be sustainable for at least that long to protect Australian lives, allow Australia to keep functioning and keep Australians in jobs. The Prime Minister, state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers met on 24 March 2020 as the National Cabinet. We are leading the world on testing with more than 161,000 Australians tested and around 2,000 Australians confirmed cases. In contrast to many countries, the majority of Australian cases of coronavirus have been from people returning overseas or direct contacts with people who had been overseas. Read the Prime Minister's full media release here

ACSA COVID-19 Webinar: Lessons from BaptistCare + Crisis Media Management

24 March: How would you cope with a COVID-19 outbreak? BaptistCare NSW & ACT CEO Ross Low generously takes us through how his organisation handled the recent COVID-19 outbreak at their Dorothy Henderson Lodge facility.

We all recognise that sometimes the worst-case scenario happens and you’re on the front-page for all the wrong reasons. Peter Stahel, Associate Director from ACSA’s media partner Essential Media will provide how-to strategies on managing the media during a crisis to ensure people in our care, families and communities get the information they need.

Click here to watch the webinar and download Essential Media's Crisis Media Management presentation here

COVID-19: Relaxation of student visa work

20 March: On 18 March 2019, the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, and the Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, jointly announced that providers of Commonwealth funded aged care services will temporarily be able to offer more hours to international students to ensure the care of senior and vulnerable Australians, as part of the campaign to combat the impact of coronavirus (COVID‑19).

Please find attached a ‘Letter of Comfort’ from the Department of Home Affairs which outlines this arrangement.

For further information about this temporary measure and what you need to do, please contact the Department of Home Affairs on 131 881 or email SVCR@homeaffairs.gov.au.

COVID-19: Supporting senior Australians and those who care for them

20 March: The National Cabinet has announced additional funding of $444.6 million for the aged care sector to ensure the continuity of the aged care workforce. The funding will be used to:

  • Provide $234.9 million for a COVID-19 ‘retention bonus’ to ensure the continuity of the workforce for staff in both residential and home care.
  • Provide $78.3 million in additional funding for residential care to support continuity of workforce supply.
  • Provide $26.9 million to increase the residential and home care Viability Supplements and the Homeless Supplement (including increased viability payments for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program providers and Multi-Purpose Services).
  • Deliver $92.2 million in additional support to home care providers and organisations which deliver the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, including for services such as meals on wheels.
  • An extra $12.3 million to support the My Aged Care call centre to respond to the needs of older Australia.


Minister Colbeck’s full statement can be read here.

Strengthened guidelines to protect aged care residents

18 March: Aged care facilities around Australia are now required to restrict visitation as the Federal Government continues to combat the spread of coronavirus. Visits should be limited to two people per resident at one time each day, restricted to rooms, outdoor or specific areas designated by providers. Children should not visit aged care centres at all. Large group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment should also be ruled out until further notice. Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Senator Richard Colbeck said the tough measures were the best way of protecting older and vulnerable Australians in care. Read more

View the Department of Health advice for public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

View the Department of Health factsheet for families and residents on restricted visits to residential aged care facilities.

 

 

For information on COVID-19 current situation and case numbers, click here. This is updated daily by the Department of Health with the current situation, latest case numbers and related information.

 

World Health Organisation Video: Caring for patients with the new Coronavirus. Click the video link below to view.
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For more information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and aged care emergency planning support, please use the following links to navigate through ACSA's resources:

 

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