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Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 Update 23 August 2021

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ACSA and LASA Staff Vaccination Support Service for COVID-19 Vaccination

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) as industry leaders are working together to support residential aged care providers to respond to the mandate for COVID-19 vaccination for their staff.

ACSA and LASA are working with the Department of Health to proactively engage with those providers where uptake of vaccination is low or at risk of not being achieved by the 17 September deadline.

The Staff Vaccination Support Service will build on the successful collaboration by the sector to support single site working implementation. This service will be available to all those providers identified by the Department as needing or who have requested additional support, to realise effective, efficient and safe vaccination of their staff. This service is provided by ACSA and LASA to all residential aged care approved providers.

The service will provide:

  • Local engagement at the state level with providers to identify barriers to uptake, navigate access to channels for vaccination and support providers to build a plan to address gaps or speed in uptake. This support will enable aggregated information on systemic barriers to uptake to be prepared for the Department of Health and will also identify enablers to uptake which can be shared across the sector. Each week representatives from ACSA and LASA will contact providers to discuss strategies at the local level and to monitor progress.
  • A coordinated communications campaign to support and encourage uptake at the local level as well as national activities as momentum is built towards the 17 September deadline and after
  • An employee relations toolkit for providers to support their discussions with staff as well as an advisory service for providers to discuss issues related to the mandating of vaccination.

Information will shortly be available on the department's website.

 

Save-the-Date: mandatory COVID-19 vaccination webinar for residential aged care workers

A series of jurisdiction-specific webinars will be presented to residential aged care workers over the next two weeks.

The webinars are to further support the residential aged care workforce on priority COVID-19 vaccination and to provide information about your state or territory public health order for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.

Workers are encouraged to save-the-date for the webinar in their region. Dates and times are available below:

Day

Date

Time (AEST)

Jurisdiction

Thursday

26 August

11.30am - 12.30pm

SA

Friday

27 August

11.00am - 12.00pm

TAS

Friday

27 August

2.00pm - 3.00pm

QLD

Monday

30 August

11.00am - 12.00pm

VIC

Wednesday

1 September

2.30pm - 3.30pm

NSW

Friday

3 September

11.00am - 12.00pm

ACT

Friday

3 September

2.30pm - 3.30pm

NT

These live webinars will provide an opportunity for residential aged care workers to get information on mandatory vaccination and to ask any questions they may have about vaccine safety and efficacy.

Each session will be chaired by the Commonwealth Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd, AM or Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Adj. Professor Alison McMillan with panellists including:

  • State and territory government representatives
  • Unions
  • Clinicians.

The webinars will run for around one hour with brief opening remarks from the chairperson and panellists, followed by a substantive Q&A session aimed at addressing the questions and concerns most important to workers.

More information, including panellist and login details will be available shortly.

For WA residential aged care workers and providers, please see details of the WA Health – Residential Aged Care Worker Vaccination webinar scheduled for Wednesday 25 August at 1:15pm-2pm (AWST).

 

NSW Health – Updated advice

The screening advice for residential aged care facilities and home care service providers has been updated for 22 August 2021.

The key messages for this update include:

  • Stay at home Orders are in place for all of NSW – the end date for these restrictions has been removed. We will provide update as soon as we know when the end date will be.
  • Disability day programs are suspended across NSW – the end date for the suspension has been removed. We will provide update as soon as we know when the end date will be.
  • From 12.01am on 23 August, aged care and disability staff who live in Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland and Fairfield LGAs are not required to undergo surveillance testing for work in Greater Sydney
  • From 30 August, aged care workers who live in an area of concern must be excluded from entry unless they have evidence of one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or a medical certificate showing medical contraindication. However, an exception to this is if they have not been in an area of concern in the previous 14 days, or they have been tested as part of a rapid antigen testing program approved by the Chief Health Officer.
  • Disability and aged care staff who are casual contacts are no longer required to be excluded from work for 14 days since their exposure to COVID-19, however they should be risk-assessed by the facility before returning to work.
  • There are active COVID-19 cases in New Zealand with contact tracing locations of interest.

This information can change rapidly so please check the NSW Health website at least daily for updates.

 

Vic Health - RACFs updated advice

The previous guidance has been updated to clarify that the PPE guidance applies Statewide.

For full details please refer to the Guidance on COVID-19 risks for residential aged care facilities for Metro Melbourne and for (updated) Regional Victoria.

Please don’t hesitate to contact  if you have any questions.

Further advice is available in the Victorian guidance for residential aged care facilities - current restrictions.

 

NT CHO - Updated direction

Please see the updated CHO Directions No.48 of 2021: Directions for Aged Care Facilities - signed by the CHO at 11:47am on 19 August 2021. These Directions took effect upon signing and apply throughout the Norther Territory.

These Directions restore the previous Aged Care directions, with one key change: mandatory vaccination for aged care workers.

Mandatory vaccination
National Cabinet have announced that all aged care workers are to have had at least their first COVID-19 vaccination by mid-September 2021.

These Directions state that a person who is an officer, employee or contractor of an aged care facility must not enter or remain on the premises of the aged care facility if the person has not had:

  • on or before 17 September 2021- the first does of a COVID-19 vaccine; and
  • on or before 31 October 2021- the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Evidence of vaccination must be given to the proprietor of the facility. The proprietor must keep a record of the vaccination status of all officers, employees or contractors. If requested by an authorised officer, the proprietor must provide this information to the authorised officer.

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

 

Webinars: trauma, grief, and loss in the aged care sector

As part of the Aged Care COVID-10 grief and trauma response package, the Department has funded expert organisations to provide grief, trauma and dementia support for those living, working and caring for people in the aged care sector.

There are several webinars that have been hosted that are available for viewing. Please encourage your staff and colleagues to view them and seek support when needed.

More information
A brochure in 64 languages as well as an Indigenous design, and poster in 10 languages raising awareness of the supports available for download are on the Department’s grief and trauma COVID-19 support services page.

Fact sheets on grief and loss in aged care, as well as trauma and self-care in aged care in multiple languages are available to order. Brochures, posters and fact sheets can be ordered in print at no cost to you using the resource order form on the program resources page.

For more information contact .

 

Last Chance – Survey to evaluate the Aged Care COVID-19 Grief and Trauma supports – Closing Midnight tonight

The Department is committed to continuous improvement of consumer supports, programs and services.

Please complete this short, 5-minute survey to help us evaluate the aged care COVID-19 grief and trauma response package. The survey will assess:

  • how many people know about the services provided in the package.
  • how many people used the services provided
  • how the services and communication about the package could be improved

Who should fill in the survey?
We’d like to hear from all aged care stakeholders, regardless of your awareness/involvement in the package. This survey is intended to capture the aged care provider experience, so is for:

  • aged care providers, including home care and residential care
  • aged care staff
  • aged care stakeholders
  • Community Visitors Scheme auspices and volunteers

Background on the package:
The emotional and psychological impacts of COVID-19 right across the aged care sector have caused grief and trauma for many. The Australian Government has funded a Grief and Trauma Response Package (the Package) to provide grief and trauma support and resources to aged care recipients, their loved ones and the aged care staff.

You can complete the survey which will be open until 11:59pm on Monday 23 August.

There will be a subsequent survey to capture the perspective of older people and their loved ones.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact: HealthConsult Project Manager Amy Monk via  or the Department project team .



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

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