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28 August 2020

Today’s newsletter provides an update on the work of the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre, including information for isolating staff, communication resources, and a reminder on the notification protocols for suspected COVID-19 cases.

We have included the latest information for aged care providers from Qld Health and NSW Health. And a reminder on the census date for the workforce retention bonus second payment.

Additionally, we have information on National Meals on Wheels Day and resident nutrition during COVID-19.

We thank you for your hard work to protect older Australians and encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce.

Anyone living in an aged care facility, their family or a representative who needs support should contact the Older Person’s Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600.

In this edition:

What's New

Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) Update

The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) has released information for providers with aged care staff who are well, but at home isolating or in quarantine. Aged care staff who are asymptomatic, isolated and quarantined can perform key roles remotely, providing support to management, enhancing resident and family communications, and continuing to engage with their workplace.

The VACRC Isolated and Quarantined Staff document provides advice on the role, responsibilities and activities these staff members can provide, as well as support that can be provided from residential aged care facilities.

The VACRC has also updated information and resources for residential aged care facilities on preparing communications to help providers deliver timely and meaningful messages to residents, nominated representatives, families and staff.

In addition, the VACRC has recently written to Victorian residential aged care facilities with a reminder for providers to notify them about suspected cases of COVID-19. Please email notifications to VACRC.COVID19Notifications@health.gov.au and include the text SUSPECTED COVID-19 CASE REPORTING in the subject heading. You can also use that email address if you have any queries.

For urgent issues or questions, please call 1800 413 957, 8am to 5pm seven days a week.

If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your facility, please immediately advise the Victorian Government via the Public Health Unit publichealth.operations@dhhs.vic.gov.au and the Department of Health agedcareCOVIDcases@health.gov.au.

A copy of the email sent by VACRC to Victorian providers is can be read here.

Update for Queensland Providers

On 22 August, the Queensland Chief Health Officer issued updated restrictions on aged care services in the following local government areas: City of Brisbane, City of Ipswich, Logan City, Scenic Rim Region, Somerset Region, Lockyer Valley Region, Moreton Bay Region and Redlands City. In these areas, anyone entering an aged care facility must wear a single use surgical face mask and providers must make sure staff do not work across multiple facilities.

From 23 August, a number of identified facilities in the affected areas started to receive dispatches of a range of PPE from the national medical stockpile, including N95 masks, to ensure they can implement appropriate infection control measures.

If you urgently need PPE and cannot source it please submit an online application here.

Updated NSW Health Advice for Residential Aged Care Facilities and Home Care Providers

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant has provided updated advice for Residential Aged Care Providers and Home Care Providers.

The updated advice for Aged Care providers outlines:

  • New restrictions for staff and visitors who live in or have visited listed areas in South East Queensland in the last 14 days.
  • Removal of Newcastle (LGA) from the list of impacted LGAs.
  • All visitors and staff to residential aged care facilities along the NSW border with QLD from Tweed Heads through to Woodenbong must wear a surgical mask while in the facility.

Workforce Retention Bonus Second Payment

A reminder that the second payment census date is Monday 31 August 2020. Payments will be automatically paid based on the first payment. Variations are only required if your payment amount would reduce by 10% or more. If applying for a variation, please submit a variation staffing profile spreadsheet and declaration no later than 4 September 2020 to acwr@health.gov.au.

These can be found at the Variation Request and Declaration page.

The guidelines for this can be found at section 5.2 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

Eligible workers that are required to isolate due to COVID are still eligible for the bonus payment.

All information can be found at retaining staff on Health.gov.au. If you have missed out on applying please email grant.ATM@health.gov.au.

Provider enquiries on the application may be submitted in writing to: grant.ATM@health.gov.au.

National Meals on Wheels Day

26 August 2020 was ‘National Meals on Wheels Day’ and the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Senator Richard Colbeck released a statement to acknowledge how Meals on Wheels has helped to support hundreds of thousands of senior Australians, amid a spike in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has provided an additional $59.3 million to enable more prepared meals, food staples and essential daily items to be delivered to older people who needed them. Meal deliveries can be organised by contacting CHSP meals providers directly, or through My Aged Care by calling 1800 200 422 or visiting the My Aged Care website.

Nutrition during COVID-19

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has produced advice around nutrition during COVID-19.

Keeping aged care consumers engaged and healthy is an ongoing priority for all aged care providers, and has never been more important than it is now, during the pandemic.

Resources

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