As the Federal Government closely monitors the situation across the country, single site workforce arrangements and funding support has been activated in all local government areas in Victoria.
Following the hotspot declaration in Victoria by the Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd, workers at Victoria’s residential aged care facilities are asked to limit their work to a single facility to reduce the risk of transmission and protect workers and residents.
Federal Government grant funding is now available to support implementation of these arrangements for an initial two-week period from August 21 to September 4, 2021. This replaces all other hotspot periods in Victoria.
Providers in these areas in Victoria are asked to adjust their rosters and ensure staff are only working at one residential aged care facility within this region during this time.
Workers are encouraged to speak with their primary employer and look to work all shifts during this period with the residential aged care provider where they were working the most hours prior to the outbreak.
To the greatest extent possible, the employer should seek to match any hours no longer being worked with a secondary employer to ensure the worker is not financially disadvantaged. It is important workers also retain the security of any secondary employment.
Facilities should also be prepared a line listing of all staff and residents, including date of birth and vaccination status in the event this is required in an outbreak scenario.
Ensuring adequate staff members are suitably trained in administrative processes, including rostering and cohorting staff, is also essential.
Where this results in additional workforce expenses, providers are able to seek reimbursement from the Australian Government through the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) Grant.
The SACWIC grant opportunity remains open until December 31, 2021.
In addition to funding support, providers can also access guidance on practical implementation of single site arrangements, including employee relations expertise, through the Guiding Principles Support Hub website or hotline on 1800 491 793.
Victoria Health – residential aged care facilities advice update
Due to the ongoing level of community transmission, the number of mystery cases and a surge of new cases and exposure sites outside of metropolitan Melbourne, regional Victoria has entered lockdown from 1pm, 21 August 2021.
As part of these changes, the key changes to directions are as follows:
During the stay at home period, residents can leave their aged care facilities for one of the permitted reasons:
- shopping for necessary goods and services
- caregiving or compassionate reasons, including medical care or to get a COVID-19 test
- authorised work or permitted education
- exercise (once a day for 2 hours)
- to get a COVID-19 vaccination
Prospective residents are not permitted to visit.
Non-essential contractors are restricted entering the facility.
Mandatory vaccination of residential aged care workers has been agreed at National Cabinet and will be required from September 17, 2021.
All residential aged care workers continue to have priority access to their choice of free Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccinations, regardless of age.
Bookings can be made online at coronavirus.vic.gov.au/book-your-vaccine-appointment or by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.
A Medicare card is not required to book an appointment or receive a vaccine.
Don’t hesitate to contact agedcareCOVIDpreparedness@health.vic.gov.au if you have any questions.