The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has developed resources to support providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources include Outbreak management guidance, Lessons learned by aged care providers experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 in Victoria, Visitor access for residential aged care services, Infection control spot checks, and COVID-19 (coronavirus) information.
Outbreak management guidance
There are ongoing high risks of COVID outbreaks in residential aged care. The fact sheet How prepared are you for a COVID-19 outbreak? Critical guiding questions for all residential aged care providers features links to useful resources published by the Commission, the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care and peak bodies.
If you have already experienced an outbreak, the fact sheet serves as a reminder of actions and considerations to help you prevent, prepare for and reduce the impact of a COVID-19 outbreak. If you haven’t yet experienced an outbreak, it is a starting point for your preparation.
Please refer to the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) National Guidelines for the Prevention, Control and Public Health Management of Outbreaks of Acute Respiratory Infection (including COVID-19 and Influenza) in Residential Care Facilities when preparing or updating your outbreak management plan.
Lessons learned from COVID-19 outbreaks in 2021
The Commission has developed a resource for providers, What we learned from COVID-19 outbreaks in 2021, which summarises key learnings and observations from more than 350 COVID-19 outbreaks at residential aged care services across Australia.
Lessons learned by aged care providers experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 in Victoria
The second wave of elevated community transmission of COVID-19 in Victoria, which started in late June 2020, presented a significant risk to residents and staff at local residential aged care services.
Many lessons were learned by providers whose residential services experienced an outbreak, and those lessons have been captured in a resource compiled by the Commission – ‘We saw the best in people: Lessons learned by aged care providers experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 in Victoria, Australia’.
Being ready for a COVID-19 outbreak webinar
We hosted a webinar on 30 August 2021 that revisited some foundation steps providers of residential aged care can take to be ready for a COVID-19 outbreak. We also discussed the changing context of COVID in 2021.
Infection prevention and control leads
A fact sheet providing updated information for providers of aged care on effective infection prevention and control capability.
Visitor access for residential aged care services
COVID-19 has created many challenges around visitor access for providers.
A public health order imposing specific restrictions on access to an aged care facility must be complied with but cannot be used by a provider to justify tighter restrictions.
Providers are expected to balance their responsibilities to reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering the site, with their responsibilities for meeting the physical, social and emotional needs of consumers.
The Commission recognises the known physical, psychosocial and nutritional impacts on older people if they experience extended periods of social isolation. Our Ensuring safe visitor access to residential aged care statement outlines what our position is on provider responsibilities relating to visitor access.
This fact sheet provides information for residential aged care providers on supporting visitations to residential aged care consumers while COVID-19 remains an ongoing risk.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aged care sector in 2020 have been significant. The risk of transmission of COVID-19 has necessitated restrictions on visitors accessing residential aged care services.
As we transition into the 'COVID-19 normal world', we will continue to update our visitor access page to provide information and resources for approved providers, aged care residents, and their families to safely manage visitor access.
Infection control spot checks
Under the Aged Care Quality Standards (Quality Standards) in the Aged Care Act 1997, every aged care provider is responsible for ensuring that they have sufficient staff with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide safe, respectful, and quality care and services.
Providers are also responsible for ensuring that staff have the necessary training, including in infection control practices and procedures, and in the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, face masks, face shields, and gowns.
See the latest COVID-19 updates from the Commission and find an explanation of the Commission's regulatory response to the COVID-19 situation.