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Department of Health covid19 update 7 April

Published

FURTHER SUPPORT FOR PROVIDERS – WORKPLACE PLANNING

The Government has announced a range of support measures to assist aged care providers as part of the response to COVID-19.  These measures have been designed to recognise additional costs and to ensure continuity of care for older Australians in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

For Workforce Planning:

  • All residential care providers will receive funding to help with the costs associated with hiring additional staff and covering workers if they are asked to self-isolate at home. This will be through an uplift to subsidies paid through the Aged Care Funding Instrument with effect from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020. Funding will start to flow to providers from April 2020.

  • Temporary subsidy increases for Home Care Packages to support providers’ additional costs and workforce supply pressures resulting from COVID-19 with effect from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020.

  • Support for Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers to expand high demand services, implement innovative service delivery models and retain paid and volunteer staff during this period. This will be in the form of a grant. An application form can be requested from Funding Arrangement Managers or by email from .

  • Paying a ‘retention bonus’ to ensure the continuity of the workforce for aged care workers in both residential and home care.

Inform us of a COVID-19 case

The Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission are here to assist providers in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. It is critical that you urgently advise your primary health unit and us on if you have any confirmed COVID-19 cases of either residents/care recipients or workers in your facility, service or program.

For Temporary Surge Workforce Support:
If your organisation is affected by COVID-19 (care recipient/staff infected or need to isolate because of exposure to COVID-19) you should take the following steps:

  • Attempt to fill vacancies through your usual channels such as looking at rostering arrangements; working with other providers to identify available staff; going to organisations to get agency staff.

    • Residential aged care providers may be eligible for reimbursement for direct costs associated with managing COVID-19 workforce impacts. You can only submit a grant application once your facility has resolved all COVID-19 cases. Details of eligibility and how to apply is available here.

  • After you have tried everything and you are still not be able to fill vacant positions, you may be eligible to source workforce through Mable's online platform (mable.com.au). Mable enables you to connect directly with screened independent support workers, nurses and therapists across Australia. Providers can search or post a job by postcode and include search filters such as service need, qualifications, languages and cultural background.

    • The Department has partnered with Mable to help Residential Aged Care, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program and Home Care Package providers to replace a critical skill shortage – for example, if a registered nurse or personal care worker is urgently needed and cannot be sourced by the provider.

    • This is designed to fill an immediate gap while the provider finds a longer-term solution. Support workers engaged via Mable will be available to the provider for up to four weeks and payable by the Department.

    • To access this service, you will need to call the My Aged Care Provider and Assessor Helpline on 1800 836 799. You will then be asked a series of screening and eligibility questions make sure that this is the most appropriate support for your situation.

  • You can also use the Mable platform to find and engage support workers at any time as it is a workforce source that can be used to fill vacancies even if a provider is not affected by COVID-19. This can occur without coming through My Aged Care, however, you will be responsible for the cost of engaging these workers.

For Emergency/Critical Workforce Support:

If a significant outbreak occurs in a residential aged care service and you find you can no longer continue to deliver your operations safely or support care recipients, the Department will contact you if you need emergency support arrangements.

It is important to urgently advise your primary health unit and us on if you have any confirmed COVID-19 cases of either residents/care recipients or workers in your facility, service or program.



Source:
Unknown Author, 2020, Department of Health

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