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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Victoria updates restrictions on visitors to residential aged care facilities

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The Victoria CHO has issued Care Facilities Directions (No 39) as of Thursday, July 29.

The changes include visits that provide care and support for the resident’s physical or emotional wellbeing (including dementia and mental health supports) and visits to prevent harm due to social isolation are now allowed.

This is in addition to visits for other reasons, which include:

  • To provide end of life support
  • As a nominated person under the Mental Health Act
  • As a nominated person providing support for a resident living with Dementia
  • To provide interpreter or informal language support
  • For learning to support the resident’s care upon discharge

The requirements that apply to visits are:

  • A maximum of two visitors at one time.
  • Do not have to be from the same household.
  • No time limits.
  • For visits for reasons other than end of life care, no more than two visitors per day, including dependents.
  • A group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor (or patient in hospital) are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.

There is no daily limit on the number of visitors for end of life care visits. End of life means where a resident’s death is expected within 28 days or less.

See further details in the guidance for residential aged care facilities and visit the Victorian Department of Health website for more information.

Victoria – VACRC Prevention – Outbreak Plan Improvement (POPI)

The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) Prevention – Outbreak Plan Improvement (POPI) program is a collaborative process helping residential aged care facilities (RACFs) to respond rapidly to any future COVID-19 outbreaks.

POPI focuses on supporting RACFs to identify and address any gaps in their COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plan (OMP). 

The VACRC Prevention team have now worked with more than 80 RACFs under the POPI program.

All the RACFs indicated they found discussions productive and informative and most made changes to their OMP as a result.

POPI discussions are conducted via video link.

A copy of questions is provided in advance, but no specific preparation is required.

Discussions emphasise the need for readily accessible resources and information in an outbreak.

Various aspects of planning are covered, with a strong focus on critical content of the OMP, consultation and collaboration with relevant agencies and stakeholders, workforce planning, IPC, cohorting, staff training and supplies.

All RACFs receive written feedback including recommended actions to improve their preparedness.

They also receive a copy of the VACRC Good Practice Guide to Outbreak Management Plan.

Victoria’s health department will be inviting a range of RACFs to participate in POPI over coming months.

VACRC has the capacity to offer some additional POPI sessions in this time as well.

If you are interested or would like to discuss POPI, please email prevention@vacrc.gov.au or call Preeti Khanna on 0488 124 848.

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