The Department of Health has issued the following advice under the banner of 'Protecting older Australians.'
New process for ordering PPE supplies for aged care sector
Aged care providers that require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must now email firstname.lastname@example.org for all requests – please don’t approach Primary Health Networks.
All requests will be triaged by the Department of Health with priority given to facilities, programs and workers where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Requests can be made by aged care services and any workers providing support to people receiving aged care support living in the community.
The following information must be provided in your email request:
- the facility, program or service requiring PPE
- if you have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your facility, program or service
- types and quantities of PPE required – please note, only masks are available at this stage and other PPE will be provided when available
- details of other suppliers you have attempted to source PPE stock from.
If your facility, program or service is experiencing an outbreak of influenza the above process applies.
The Department of Health will triage your request to determine priority and may be in contact with you for further information.
Once approved the request for supplies will be shared with the National Incident Room who will work with your State or Territory Government to distribute the supplies.
It is important to remember that if you do not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 within your facility, program or service you should expect delays in receiving your PPE due to the increase in demand.
Emails previously sent to the National Stockpile address do not need to be resent as they have been captured in this new, dedicated aged care process.
New e-learning module for aged care workers now online
The Department of Health has released the first module in a new eLearning program aimed specifically for Aged Care workers on appropriate health management techniques in all aged care settings.
Module 1: Personal Safety
On completion of this module, participants will be able to:
- describe how you can minimise the risk of developing COVID-19
- identify what to do if you develop symptoms of COVID-19
- demonstrate to others how to perform effective hand hygiene
- explain how to practise cough and sneeze etiquette.
More modules will be released across the week.
Advice on visit guidelines
Please take note of the below clarification on applying the new guidelines on visitor access.
The guidelines include:
- Limiting visits to a short duration.
- Limiting visits to a maximum of two visitors at one time per day. These may be immediate social supports (family members, close friends) or professional service or advocacy.
- Visits should be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the RACF, 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 RACFs. 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 to visit 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 palliative care.
In regards to the ‘professional service’ cohort the Department has been receiving some feedback that some clinical care professionals are being prevented from entering some facilities. The guidelines were designed specifically to allow ‘professional services’ - this includes GPs, Pharmacists, clinical care teams, DBMAS, SBRT, etc.
Detailed advice on visit restrictions is available from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
Mental health resources
This is a difficult and unsettling time, and if you need mental health support you can call the Beyond Blue Support Service. The free and confidential service is available every day to all Australians online from 3pm to midnight AEST or 24 hours a day by phone on 1300 22 4636.
The Beyond Blue Online Forums have a dedicated ‘Coping with the Coronavirus outbreak’ section for anyone seeking a safe and anonymous place to discuss their mental health and wellbeing. For practical information and tips, please visit Beyond Blue - looking after you mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
MindSpot Wellbeing Plus Course
MindSpot also offers a ‘Wellbeing Plus’ online course for people 60+ years. It aims to help older adults learn to manage stress, anxiety, worry, low mood and depression. The course was funded by a grant from beyondblue.