mob_btn

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.

 

Your COVID-19 Reference Guide: information for ACSA members

Throughout the pandemic, ACSA has been working to ensure you have access to critical information as and when it has become available. We recognise that important information provided from the Department of Health at both a Commonwealth and State level has been dynamic and ever evolving.

ACSA has collated that information into a single resource, a handy reference guide on all the current COVID-19 information. 

With the rapid changes in information relating to COVID-19, we encourage all members to regularly review this document for new updates to existing information. Download the current version

key-covid-information.png Click here to view ACSA's Key COVID-19 Resources document

 

First 24 hours - managing COVID-19 in a residential aged care facility

First-24-hours.PNG

The Department of Health has released guidelines for residential aged care facilities on what steps to take, and when, following the identification of a COVID-19 positive case. Download now

 

 

Department of Health Updates

The Department of Health continues to produce it's COVID-19 newsletter, Protecting Older Australians. These updates will be sent 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

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission: Re-accreditation and resumption of site audits

12 August: The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has responded to ACSA's request for advice on the Commission's current position on the impact of COVID-19 on the re-accreditation program, including when site audits are expected to recommence. Read more

Third review of Industry Code on Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes

29 July: The Industry Code on Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes has been reviewed and updated to align with the Victorian government's Care Facilities Directions (No. 8) enacted on 23 July 2020. These Directions are consistent with the Code, however contain some important temporary amendments for aged care homes in Victoria. Read more

Guiding Principles for residential aged care (VIC)

22 July: The 'Guiding Principles for residential aged care - keeping Victorian residents and workers safe' have been released. The Guiding Principles were developed by industry leaders with input from Government, peak bodies and unions. The Principles aim to minimise the potential risk of workers unintentionally transmitting COVID-19 by working across multiple sites. Read more

Second review of Industry Code on Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes

3 July: The Industry Code on Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes was reviews on 26 June 2020 by consumer and provider advocates. The review considered and incorporated feedback from a range of stakeholders as well as through the peak bodies, and incorporated updated AHPPC advice and the most recent state and territory directives with which aged care providers and visitors must comply. Read more

Updates to CDNA definition of a COVID-19 oubreak in aged care 

6 June: The Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) National Guidelines for Public Health Units for COVID-19 have changed the definition of an outbreak to be a single confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident, staff member or frequent attendee of a high-risk setting - including aged care homes. Read more

Industry Code on Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes: First review, 29 May 2020

3 June: The Industry Code on Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes was reviewed on 29 May 2020. Considerable feedback from consumers, families, advocates, providers and the public as well as through the consumer and provider peak bodies was received as part of this process. It was noted that there is substantial evidence that in response to the Code there has been a stark improvement and increase in the availability of visits to residents while still ensuring that residents are protected from COVID-19 by strict procedures to safeguard their safety. Read more

Residential aged care - emergency leave determination for COVID-19

2 June: The Government's emergency leave determination for COVID-19 has been registered and is available here. Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians has determined that there is 'a situation of emergency for all days in the period beginning on 1 April 2020 and ending on 30 September 2020 for all residential care services in Australia'.  The Determination ensures emergency leave is available to all permanent aged care residents throughout Australia from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020 and enables approved providers to remain eligible for residential aged care subsidy where a resident takes emergency leave.  If residents decide to take leave from a residential aged care facility because of the current emergency situation, they will not be required to pay a fee to reserve their place in that facility. Read more

COVID-19 Guide for Home Care Providers

23 May: This guide is for providers of aged care and disability services who offer home care and support services to older people living at home and people with disability living in the community. It providers information and guidance on how to stay safe from coronavirus (COVID-19). Read more

7 questions answered on how to socialise safely as coronavirus restrictions ease

22 May: You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief as coronavirus restrictions are eased across Australia. But as we emerge from our bunkers and dust off our socials skills, we must think about how to navigate this transition safely. The winding back of restrictions does not mean the pandemic is over, although it is a recognition of how well we have done to control the spread of COVID-19 in Australia. There is still a long way to go, and it is everyone's responsibility to limit the chances of coronavirus spreading. Read more

New Department of Health COVID-19 resource for aged care

16 May: The Department of Health has created a new website, Providing aged care services during COVID-19. This provides resources and advice for aged care providers and workers who deliver services in residential aged care and in-home care settings. Find out when you must not go to work, getting coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, identifying symptoms in older people, and protecting yourself and the people you care for. Read more

$48.1 million for National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan

15 May: The Australian Government is continuing to take action to help Australians whose mental health and wellbeing is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing an additional $48.1 million to support the Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan. This investment builds on approximately $500 million for mental health and suicide prevention announced by the Government since 30 January. Read more

Free online dementia courses for aged care workers during COVID-19

13 May: Free, short online courses have been announced by the Centre for Dementia Learning, Dementia Australia to assist frontline aged care staff delivering care to people living with dementia during the coronavirus pandemic. Courses will increase the participants' understanding of dementia and provide frameworks to help with problem solving. As participants work through the free online courses they will develop their own Dementia Practice Improvement Plan to practically apply what they have learned into their work. Courses take just two hours to complete and can be done at the participant's own pace, allowing a pause at any point. Learn more

Industry Code for visiting in aged care homes released

12 May: 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 the COVID-19 virus. The Code was finalised late this afternoon after public consultation with both consumers and aged care providers, in order to cement a human rights approach to industry practice during the pandemic that both protects and respects aged care residents and their visitors. Click here to download the Aged Care Visitor Access Code

Please note: Initially the superseded Emergency Management Code for SA (No. 2) was inserted into the Visitor Access Code. This has now been corrected to Emergency Management Code No. 3 as at 13 May 2020.

Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia

8 May: Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has released a roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia. Read more

Rescheduled Department of Health Webinar: COVID-19 outbreak management in aged care

4 May: The Department will convene a webinar for aged care providers and their staff on COVID-19 Outbreak Preparedness and Management on Friday, 8 May at 4pm - 5pm (AEST). (This was initially scheduled for Thursday 30 April however was rescheduled.) The webinar will cover what residential aged care facilities should be doing in preparation for a potential COVID-19 outbreak, what to do if there is an outbreak, as well as the support available to services in the event of a COVID-19 case. There will be an opportunity for Q&A following a panel discussion. The webinar will be broadcast from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment here.
(Note: you do not need to RSVP for the webinar, there is no limit to the number of participants. Click on the webinar link, the launch button will appear 15 minutes prior to the event start time.)

Consultation on draft Aged Care Visitor Access Code

1 May: A Visitor Access Code to ensure a nationally consistent visitation policy to residential aged care homes during the COVID-19 crisis has today been released by aged care peaks and consumer advocacy organisations for consultation with the public. The Code aims to apply a compassionate and consistent visitor policy that continues to minimise the risk of COVID-19 while providing innovative on-site visiting solutions to maintain the mental health of residents. Consultations will take place next week with aged care residents, families, families of choice, friends, along with aged care providers and staff, closing at 3pm on Thursday 7 May. It is envisaged the code will be finalised by Monday 11 May. Read more

New COVID-19 payment to keep Australians in residential aged care safe

1 May: Residential aged care providers will benefit from an additional COVID-19 specific support package totalling $205 million under targeted measures announced today by the Morrison Government. It takes the total COVID-19 specific Federal Government funding for aged care to more than $850 million. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the latest injection of funds was aimed at ensuring aged care providers can offer reinforced levels of safety and care for those who need it most. "Senior Australians are highly vulnerable to coronavirus and we are seeing the cost the pandemic is having on facilities around the country," the Prime Minister said. Read more

Enhanced vistitation protections are for public health and safety

27 April: Almost 1,000 aged care providers and their representatives have endorsed strong requests for support put to the Aged Care Minister and the Chief Medical Officer during a national webinar on Friday 24 April. Everyone agrees that public safety is the most important thing during this national health crisis. Aged care providers have made extremely difficult decisions for enhanced resident protections on visitation in order to reduce the number of potential exposures to the vulnerable people in our care. This also has huge public health implications in the wider community. These difficult decisions have not been made lightly and have the support of the majority of residents and their families. Read more

COVIDSafe: New app to slow the spread of coronavirus

26 April: The Australian Government has launched the new voluntary coronavirus app, COVIDSafe. The app is an important public health initiative that will help keep you, your family, and your community safe from further spread of coronavirus through early notification of possible exposure. The health initiative uses technology to automate and improve what state and territory health officials already do manually. COVIDSafe will speed up the process of identifying people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus, quickly stopping further spread of the virus in the community. Read more

eSafety courses to keep Senior Australians connected

24 April: Free daytime webinars are now available to help improve the online skills of Senior Australians as they increasingly turn to the internet to access online services and connect with loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
These online courses are being delivered by the eSafety Commissioner as part of the Federal Government's "Be Connected" initiative, aimed at empowering all Australians to develop the skills needed to thrive in a digital world. 
Hosted by professional eSafety Commissioner trainers, the courses will offer participants guidance to help build basic online skills and confidence required to carry out video chats, telehealth, shopping and banking. Read more

ACSA COVID-19 Webinar - Influenza vaccination essentials for aged care providers

23 April: A thorough understanding of the influenza vaccination requirements and how to manage them is essential for residential, home and community care providers of aged care at this time. Join ACSA's webinar on Thursday 30 April, 3.00pm-4.00pm (AEST) to hear legal experts from ACSA Industry Partner Thomson Geer Lawyers who will take you through:

  • Understanding the government directives applicable to influenza vaccination requirements across the states and territories;
  • Exemptions that may be applicable; and
  • Handling refusals to vaccinate, 'conscientous objectors, and genuine medical containdications.

The information will cover staff, volunteers, contractors, suppliers, health providers and family visitors. Participants will be able to ask questions of both speakers during the webinar. Register now

ACSA COVID-19 Webinar - Managing with residential aged care visitor restrictions

23 April: ACSA's COVID-19 Webinar series continued on 22 April with a focus on managing with residential aged care visitor restrictions. Gemma McGrath from ACSA industry partner Panetta McGrath Lawyers discussed the legal implications around visitor restrictions, including what needs to be considered when deciding whether to have tighter restrictions than required by the Commonwealth and/or the relevant State/Territory Governments. 

ValleyView Residences is a 64-bed facility in the regional Western Australian town of Collie that currently has a policy of no visitation of residents. Executive Manager Joy Halleron takes us through her experience of implementing and maintaining that policy. Watch the webinar recording 

Advice from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission: screening of people entering residential aged care facilities

22 April: The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has today contacted residential aged care providers with important information from the Chief Clinical Advisor regarding screening of people entering residential aged care facilities. Read more

The Commission has also published guidance for residential aged care facilities on Supporting safe, quality care for aged care consumers during visitor restrictions relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which you can read here.

Assessment contact on preparing for COVID-19 for Home Services

21 April: The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is currently contacting all approved providers of aged care Home Services by email to undertake an online self-assessment survey to monitor and support them in their preparation for a COVID-19 outbreak and to be submitted by close of business Wednesday 29 April 2020. The online self-assessment survey is designed to support home services providers to evaluate their readiness for a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak affecting their aged care home service(s), to review the infection control systems in place, and support home service providers to take action to identify, minimise and manage risks to the safety, health and well-being of their consumers. The questions are based on the Department of Health COVID-19 Guide for Home Care Providers. You are urged to consult this guidance on the department's website.  View the survey questions

PHNs mobilise for flu vaccination season

17 April: Staff and residents of aged care facilities across Australia are being urged to roll up their sleeves for flu vaccinations under a sweeping campaign to protect their health. "The Govenment has asked Primary Health Networks (PHNs) across Australia to assist in the coordination of flu vaccinations in their region," Minister Colbeck said. PHNs will contact all residential aged care providers by region to undertake a needs assessment and coordinate influenza vaccination programs for those services with an identified need. The provisions may include sourcing vaccine supply and supplying qualified vaccine administrators. Read more

COVID-19 Aged Care Support Rescue Package

15 April: The aged care sector is united in proposing a package of urgent measures to keep the 1.3 million people in its care and its 360,000 workers safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Many providers were already at risk of collapse prior to the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis is pushing us even closer to breaking point. These are unprecedented times and aged care providers are at the frontline of protecting the safety of their residents, clients, visitors and staff.  The first priority of providers is to protect the older people in our care - who are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 - and the workforce who cares for them. Read more

Measures to ensure continuity of aged care during COVID-19

14 April: Emergency contingency measures will ensure aged care recipients continue to get the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Government has launched a joint strategy aimed at strengthening the workforce to ensure staffing gaps are filled.  The measures include: New emergency response teams on standby if there’s a significant outbreak in a residential aged care facility; Remote locums to support aged care providers in remote Australia if they are unable to source staff; and Access to a surge workforce through online platform Mable, to help providers if they’re unable to fill critical skills because of infection or staff have to self-isolate. Read more

No jab, no job - Managing influenza vaccination compliance for your employees

9 April: The States and Territories have now operationalised the mandatory influenza vaccination requirements for Residential Aged Care Facilities by way of Directions and Orders issued pursuant to public health legislation in each of their jurisdictions. Click here to read a summary from ACSA's Employee Relations Team to assist you in managing compliance for your employees. Read more

ACSA COVID-19 Webinar - Strategies for Retirement Living operators

16 April: View the recording of ACSA's Retirement Living webinar, with specialists from ACSA National Partner Russell Kennedy Lawyers providing a broad and practical perspective on the legal implications for operators around COVID-19. The webinar was held in Q&A style with a group of set questions from ACSA’s interviewer followed by plenty of time for participants to ask additional questions in the webinar’s open forum. View the webinar

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

7 April: ACSA’s home care specialist consultant Anna Millicer today hosted a free webinar tailor-made for home care providers that gives a broad and practical perspective on all things COVID-19. There was fantastic interaction through the webinar's open forum, and we would like to thank all those who participated for your valuable insights. A handy FAQ resource will be distributed to participants shortly to support you over the coming months. View the webinar

Aged care workers must get flu vaccination

3 April: Aged Care workers are being urged to get their flu vaccination now ahead of the season in a bid to protect themselves and the Senior Australians they care for. Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck said while every flu season is serious, the spread of COVID-19 means it’s critical every worker is vaccinated. “Our Aged Care workers are doing an exceptional job caring for our most vulnerable Australians in very challenging circumstances,” Minister Colbeck said. “I am urging all care workers who work with older Australians, whether through residential facilities or in-home care, to heed this advice and get vaccinated against the flu.” Read more

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.

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 latest case numbers and related information.

 

For more information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and aged care emergency planning support, please use the following links to navigate through ACSA's resources:

 

1.png       3-(1).png       9-(2).png

 

6-(1).png       7-(1).png       8-(1).png

 

retirement-villages.png       10-(1).png       5-(1).png

 

 

World Health Organisation Video: Caring for patients with the new Coronavirus. Click the video link below to view.
WHO-Video-graphic.PNG

 

2020-06-25-Partner-Logos-600x600-(1).png

 

DDI_web-banner_July2020_300x250.gif

 

ACSA-advert6_2-1.png