Depending on the particular circumstances, options for separating COVID-positive resident/s from other residents can include offsite or onsite cohorting. Offsite cohorting involves relocating one or a group of residents to another care setting. Onsite cohorting involves immediately isolating a COVID-positive resident, preferably in a single room with their own ensuite facilities. If this is not possible at your service, then there are medical grounds to move residents within your facility to control the spread of the virus.
When should a residential aged care service consider cohorting?
Cohorting is an essential aspect of implementing an Outbreak Management Plan. Consideration of cohorting arrangements should be well considered before any sign of an outbreak, with an appropriate cohorting plan ready to be enacted if a residents is confirmed as having COVID-19. Pay careful attention to residents who share an ensuite or use shared bathrooms as well as bedrooms.
What sorts of things should be considered when planning cohorting?
Cohorting considerations should include:
- Assessment of room layout and ensuite availability
- Environment and infrastructure
- Exit/entry points
- Access for food/ cleaning/ laundry services
- Visitor access logistics
- Supply access logistics
Is cohorting necessary if consumers have their own rooms?
Yes, cohorting should be considered even where residents have their own rooms. It is especially critical where consumers share an ensuite bathroom or use share bathrooms.
Does a consumer need to consent to cohorting or being moved to another room temporarily?
As with all aspects of a service’s Outbreak Management Plan, residents should receive regular communication and updates about services. Where a resident (confirmed with COVID-19 or not) is identified in cohort planning and implementation, this should be clearly communicated with the resident and their representative, including the reasons why cohorting is taking place.
Should I cohort consumers if I don’t have a confirmed COVID-19 case?
No. Cohorting is for the purposes of preventing further spread of the virus, and is not used for the purposes of preventing the risk of COVID-19 entering the service. Your Outbreak Management Plan should contain the relevant details to minimise the risk of COVID-19 entering the service. This includes ensuring all staff are trained and competent in the use of PPE, appropriate screening processes for all persons entering the service including staff and visitors and active monitoring of all consumers regularly for signs and symptoms.