Last updated 26 March 2020
19 March – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for older Australians Factsheet
Download an information factsheet for older Australians, their family and friends about how to protect older Australians from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) here: www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-older-australians
26 March – Dementia Australia Help Sheets to navigate coronavirus COVID-19
- Tips for people living with dementia – outlines the coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms, hygiene tips, the importance of having a good support network, ideas to remain active and engaged while in self-isolation, and where to go for help.
- Tips for carers, families and friends of people living with dementia – outlines the coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms, hygiene tips, helpful tips for primary carers, as well as for family, friends or neighbours, ideas for remaining active and engaged while in self-isolation, and where to go for help.
- Tips for residential care providers – outlines the impacts coronavirus COVID-19 may have on residents, tips on alternative activities and how to support continued engagement with families and carers.
- Tips for home care providers – outlines the impacts coronavirus COVID-19 may have on a person living with dementia, tips to reduce heightened anxiety and where to go for help.
National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500, interpreter service are available.
20 March – Aged Care Royal Commission suspends hearings and workshops
The Commissioners have decided to suspend all hearings and workshops for the Aged Care Royal Commission for the time being, subject to ongoing review. This decision is a consequence of the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and based on information available from the Australian Government.
The Commissioners said this suspension would also apply to group consultations which have been part of the engagement work conducted by Royal Commission staff.
This decision will immediately affect all hearings and workshops currently scheduled until at least the end of May 2020. The Commissioners are carefully considering the implications this decision will have on their continuing work program. Read the media release on the Royal Commission website.
The deadline for submissions to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will be extended by two months to 30 June 2020. Read the media release on the Royal Commission website.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released an Infection Prevention and Control guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities in the context of COVID-19 on 21 March 2020 . Access the document here.
Can I visit friends and family in residential aged care?
It is important to take reasonable steps to protect residents, visitors and staff.
A chat over the phone, video call or email – rather than visits in person – is a good precaution and could help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, we understand that you may still wish to visit loved ones in person.
There are special measures in place to stop the spread of the virus through residential aged care facilities.
The following people cannot enter a residential aged care facility:
- Anybody (visitors, staff, contractors) who has been overseas within the past 14 days
- Anybody who has been in contact with COVID-19 within the past 14 days
- Anybody with fever or flu-like symptoms
- School groups
- From 1 May 2020, you cannot enter a residential aged care facility if you have not received your influenza vaccination.
Children under 16 pose an additional risk. It’s possible that children and young people may be carriers of COVID-19 but show no symptoms, making it extremely difficult to tell if it’s safe for them to visit an older relative. For this reason visits by children under 16 are by exception only and require permission.
There should be no large groups of gatherings of visitors or residents. This means that social gatherings, including bingo or trivia or musical entertainment, will mostly be cancelled.
If you do visit a residential aged care facility
If you are visiting a facility, you may need to change the way you do things.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) updated its recommended measures to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19 on 17 March 2020. These include reducing visitors to residential aged care facilities. Advice for aged care facilities and visitors to residents is available here.
The Prime Minister announcement on 18 March regarding aged care visitation restrictions is available here.
If you, or the person you are visiting, are unwell (particularly with flu or cold-like symptoms), you must not visit. Consider a chat over the phone, or other arrangement. Aged care providers have been asked to set up video links, skype connections and the like.