The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented health event, and it’s up to us to try and stop the spread of infection, particularly to vulnerable groups like those in aged care services. It’s crucial we stay up-to-date with information from reliable sources to ensure we are doing the best by our people and residents.
In case you missed the announcement on the 18th of March 2020, here’s the latest advice for Aged Care from the Australian Government:
Restrictions on entry into aged care facilities
The following visitors and staff (including visiting workers) should not be permitted to enter the facility:
- Those who have returned from overseas in the last 14 days;
- Those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days;
- Those with fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath); and
- Those who have not been vaccinated against influenza (after 1 May 2020)
Aged care facilities should implement the following measures for restricting visits and visitors to reduce the risk of transmission to residents, including:
- Limiting visits to a short duration;
- Limiting visits to a maximum of two immediate social supports (family members, close friends) or professional service or advocacy at one time, per day;
- Visits should be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the aged care facility, rather than communal areas where the risk of transmission to residents is greater;
- No large group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment, should be permitted at this time;
- No school groups of any size should be allowed to visit aged care facilities.
- Visitors should also be encouraged to practice social distancing practices where possible, including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres.
- Children aged 16 years or less must be permitted only by exception, as they are generally unable to comply with hygiene measures. Exemptions can be assessed on a case-by-case basis, for example, where the resident is in a palliative care scenario.
- Measures such as phone or video calls must be accessible to all residents to enable more regular communication with family members. Family and friends should be encouraged to maintain contact with residents by phone and other social communication apps, as appropriate.
Managing illness in visitors and staff
Aged care facilities should advise all regular visitors and staff to be vigilant for illness and use hygiene measures including social distancing, and to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, specifically fever and acute respiratory illness. They should be instructed to stay away when unwell, for their own and residents’ protection.
The full media statement is available at pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures.