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Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 Update 19 August 2021

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Emergency and Crisis Management Training Program 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities in aged care crisis management and in particular, effective decision making.

The Emergency and Crisis Management Training Program 2021 aims to provide aged care providers with the knowledge, tools and confidence to build or strengthen their organisation’s emergency and crisis management capability. This will assist providers to better ensure continued delivery of safe and quality care in challenging situations.

RiskLogic and First 5 Minutes, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, have developed a tailored program for aged care provider chief executive officers, board members, senior management and directors of nursing, to cover core aspects of risk and emergency/crisis response preparedness.

When is the course available?
The program will be available from August 2021. It will be delivered entirely online through a combination of:

  • self-paced eLearning modules
  • group mentoring sessions
  • one-on-one sessions with a crisis management practitioner

Who should attend?
Senior leaders of aged care providers who are seeking to better equip themselves with the skills and knowledge to build or strengthen emergency and crisis management leadership skills within their organisation.

Visit the RiskLogic website to register and find further information.

 

Reminder: COVID support grants available

The Commonwealth is committed to helping aged care providers manage the financial impacts associated with COVID-19, in addition to direct support through case management, PPE supply and other assistance in the event of an outbreak. A number of grant programs remain open for providers as set out below.

 

Aged Care Support Program Extension Grant

The COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program Extension will reimburse eligible aged care providers for staffing and eligible expenditure incurred on managing direct impacts of COVID-19 between 28 May 2021 and 31 March 2022. The Program will run over 1 year in 2021-22. The Program will assist Residential Aged Care, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program and Home Care Package providers that are subject to direct COVID-19 impacts, to deliver continuity of safe quality care for consumers.

The program supports costs for:

  • providing increased staff to manage care and broader requirements in a service with residents/clients who are infected or isolated due to COVID-19;
  • replacing existing staff who are infected or isolated due to COVID-19;
  • personal protective equipment, cleaning and infection control, waste management, and travel and accommodation.

To apply or find out more information about this grant visit the GrantConnect website and search for GO4863 COVID19 - Aged Care Support Program Extension.

If you need assistance please phone 02 6289 5600 or email .

 

Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19

The Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) Grant Opportunity is designed to support eligible aged care providers located in hotspots or high risk locations with eligible costs associated with implementing Single Site working arrangements.

The SACWIC grant opportunity remains open until 31 December 2021. Examples of eligible workforce costs under SACWIC are those that will support eligible workers:

  • who normally work at multiple residential aged care facilities but will be working solely at the facility being applied for.
  • who are not to work because they have been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have been diagnosed as COVID-19 positive, require testing or are subject to self-isolation or quarantine requirements.
  • to undertake training in the event a skills gap arises from where existing workers are not to work due to experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are subject to self-isolation or quarantine requirements.

To apply or find out more information about this grant visit the GrantConnect website and search for GO4215 and search for Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19.

If you need assistance please phone 02 6289 5600 or email .

 

Victoria - updated Factsheet: Extended P2/N95 respirator and eye protection use

The Victorian Department of Health has issued an updated version of the IPCAR Factsheet: Extended P2/N95 respirator and eye protection use -preventing facial injury during COVID-19.

The updates include - a revision of face mask rules as per public health directions and additional information provided for hydrocolloid dressing use under P2/N95 respirators.

Currently, all Victorians aged 12 years and over must wear a fitted face mask when they leave home when required by public health directions. All healthcare workers are required to wear a surgical face mask for all interactions, and eye protection for all clinical interactions regardless of assessed or perceived risk.

Filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), also known as P2/N95 respirators, are required to be worn in some settings often for extended periods. For more information about current restrictions, please visit the Victorian Department of Health Coronavirus website.

 

NT CHO - Updated direction

Please see the updated CHO Directions No.47 of 2021: Directions for Aged Care Facilities in Katherine - signed by the CHO on 19 August 2021.

These Directions took effect at midday on 19 August 2021 and remain in force until midday on 20 August 2021.

Directions No.41 are revoked.

These Directions apply the restrictions that were in Directions No.41 to aged care facilities within the Municipality of Katherine only.

Entry
A person must not enter an aged care facility unless the person is in one of the exempt categories. Those exempt categories are as follows:

  • An officer, employee or contractor of the facility
  • A person providing goods or services necessary for the operation of the facility
  • A person providing health, medical or pharmaceutical goods or services to a resident of the facility
  • A person providing end of life support to a resident of the facility
  • A person required for emergency management or law enforcement
  • A legal practitioner providing legal services regarding end of life matters to a resident of the facility only if the services cannot be provided remotely.

Even if a person is in one of the exempt categories they

  • must not enter in the aged care facility if they have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19
  • must not enter if they do not have an up to date flu vaccination
  • must wear a face mask
  • must stay 1.5m away from other persons.

A person may deliver items or provide an emergency service for the period reasonably required to do so even if they do not have an up to date flu vaccination, but if they do they must take all reasonable measures to stay at least 1.5m away from others and deliver the item without entering if that is practicable.

Face masks

  • all persons entering the aged care facility must wear a face mask while in the facility
  • a resident of the aged care facility must wear a facemask unless:

    • they are in their own room or any other place where they ordinarily reside
    • they have a physical or mental health illness, condition or disability that makes wearing a face mask unsuitable
    • there is an emergency.

Testing
Any person entering the aged care facility as an exempt person and all residents of the facility must submit to a COVID-19 testing procedure at the times, places and frequencies determined by the CHO.

The pre-existing requirements relating to collection of information via the Territory Check-in App and employees providing information about other workplaces remain unchanged.

This information can change rapidly so please check the NT Health website regularly for updates.

 

SA Health - information for RACFs on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination

From 17 September 2021, all RACF staff, contractors and volunteers are required to have received at least one dose of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine and have evidence of a booking to receive, or have received, a second dose.

The Information for Residential Aged Care Facilities fact sheet has been updated to cover some of the more specific questions that have been raised by the sector over the past week.

Who is mandated?
The requirement to receive a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination applies to people who are:

  • Employed or engaged by or on behalf of a RACF (whether as an employee, contractor or agency staff) to work or perform duties at a premises of a RACF on a full time, part time or casual basis, including:

    • Direct care workers (nurses; personal care workers; allied health professionals; and allied health assistants)
    • Administration staff (reception; management; administration)
    • Ancillary staff (food preparation; cleaning; laundry; garden; maintenance)
    • Lifestyle / social care (music/art therapy)
    • Transport drivers of residents of RACF
    • Volunteers engaged by a RACF to undertake duties at a RACF
    • Students on placement at a RACF; and
    • Medical practitioners and allied health professionals who attend and provide care to residents of a RACF whether employed or engaged by the resident, RACF or another person.

Note: Under the South Australian RACF Emergency Management Direction, allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, etc. are mandated to receive COVID-19 vaccination, whether employed or engaged by the resident, RACF or another person.

Who is not mandated?
Some people who must enter a RACF to provide a service, are not mandated to receive a COVID-19 vaccination under the RACF Emergency Management Direction, however COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged for anyone entering a RACF. The following people are not included in this Direction:

  • In-reach services including AN-ACC/ACAT/RAS assessors, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission field staff, Aged Care Advocates delivering the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (Older Persons Advocacy Network Members), trade union officials.
  • Emergency services staff, including SA Ambulance Officers undertaking resident transport to/from hospital or providing treatment in a RACF.
  • Contractors such as trades people, delivery drivers, hairdressers, librarians, solicitors, pastoral care workers / clergy.
  • Volunteers who are not engaged by a RACF, for example community visitors providing companionship to a resident at the request of the resident.
  • Family and friends of the resident.

What exemptions are in place and how are they granted?
In a limited number of circumstances, exemptions to the requirement for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination may apply.

Requests for temporary exemptions (not medical grounds or pregnancy) must be made in writing to the Department for Health and Wellbeing by email to . Requests should include contact details and any information relevant to the request.

Where can RACF workforce receive vaccination?
The Residential aged care staff vaccination FAQ provides additional information regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

RACF staff, contractors and volunteers can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at any of the South Australian vaccination sites.

In addition, vaccination clinics and/or places for RACF staff, contractors and volunteers have been set up, including:

Further information about COVID-19 and Aged Care is available on the SA Health website: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/covidagedcare.



Source:
Unknown Author, 2021, Department of Health (https://www.health.gov.au/)

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