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Monday, January 17, 2022

Govt focus on aged care as sector transitions to living with COVID 19

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The Federal Government says the safety and wellbeing of aged care residents and staff remains a priority as it continues to work with states and territories and the aged care sector to transition to living with COVID 19.

To assist with the COVID-19 emergency, the Government is encouraging residential aged care providers who have capacity to admit people being discharged from hospital where possible.

The Government says it is working with states and territories to ensure their public hospital systems are equipped to deal with any increase in hospitalisations as COVID-19 restrictions are eased in coming months.

As part of this, the Government says it will be important that older Australians in hospital who will need ongoing residential care when they are discharged, are able to access care in a timely manner.

While admission practices are a matter for individual providers, the Government strongly encourages aged care providers to consider people with higher dementia support needs and those with lower means.

If facilities do admit people with higher dementia needs, Dementia Support Australia (DSA) are able to offer support planning, clinical advice and information to service providers. More information is available here.

Further, there is also financial support available to providers for residents who cannot pay for some or all of their accommodation costs or are facing financial hardship.

Additional information is available on the accommodation supplement and on financial hardship.

There have also been a number of funding announcements and new initiatives to support aged care providers during COVID-19.

Further details on these measures can be found on the department’s website.

All aged care homes must follow the New Resident Entrance Protocol on COVID 19 vaccination to protect new and existing residents. Providers should work with hospitals to ensure that:

  • new entrants to residential aged care are offered a minimum first dose of a COVID 19 vaccine prior to being discharged
  • a resident’s COVID-19 vaccination status is included in the clinical transfer notes provided on discharge from hospital.

Providers are also reminded that their security of tenure obligations apply to existing residents returning from hospital.

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