COVID-19 resources and information for the aged care sector.

Requirements for residential aged care facilities

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has issued new directions on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for people who work in residential aged care.

Information for workers and residential aged care facilities is available on Coronavirus Victoria.

Please note that for all residential aged care facilities in Victoria the following requirements apply from 11:59pm 17 September 2021

Visitors are only permitted into aged care for the following reasons: 

Permitted reasons

  • To provide care and support for the resident’s physical and emotional wellbeing (including mental health supports and support for people living with dementia); Note: this may include a person who is visiting to prevent harm to a person's mental or emotional health due to social isolation
  • As a nominated person under the Mental Health Act
  • As a nominated person providing support for a resident living with Dementia
  • To provide interpreter or informal language support
  • Is the parent, carer or guardian of a person under the age of 18
  • For learning to support the resident’s care upon discharge
  • To provide end of life support 
     

Requirements for visits

  • Two visitors at one time (a group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged).
  • Do not have to be from the same household. 
  • No time limits.
  • It is one of the permitted reasons.
  • No more than two visitors per day except where providing end of life support.
  • There is no daily limit on the number of visitors for end of life care visits. End of life means where a resident’s death is expected within 28 days or less. 

Remote / electronic visits

In addition, if people cannot enter a RACF, providers are required to take all reasonable steps to facilitate telephone, video, or other means of electronic communication with support persons and family members to support the wellbeing of residents.

This facilitated communication should be reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances (e.g. phone call support for someone with hearing difficulties would not be appropriate).

Prospective residents – regional Victoria (excluding Ballarat)

  • Prospective residents who live in regional Victoria (excluding Ballarat) can visit an aged care facility in regional Victoria (excluding Ballarat). They can be accompanied by one other person who also lives in regional Victoria (excluding Ballarat). The facility must not be in Metropolitan Melbourne or Ballarat. 
  • Only one such visit can occur at any one time. 
  • There is no limit on the number of prospective residents that can visit over the course of a day. 

Prospective residents – Metropolitan Melbourne and Ballarat

  • Prospective residents who live in Metropolitan Melbourne and Ballarat can visit an aged care facility if they are:
  • An inpatient in an acute care hospital awaiting discharge to a residential aged care facility (or a nominated family member visiting on behalf of the inpatient).
  • A resident of an aged care facility that is due to close and are therefore required to find alternative accommodation.

Face mask requirements

All visitors are required to wear face masks.

All workers are required to wear surgical face masks.

Other measures

  • All workers and permitted visitors must check in to the facility using the Service Victoria check-in app.
  • Testing residents with COVID-19 compatible clinical and/or epidemiological risk factors.
  • Telehealth recommended wherever possible for aged care residents.
  • Screening visitors and staff and continuing daily workforce attestations.  
  • Restricting permitted visitors and staff found to have visited exposure sites until they have returned a negative test result. 
  • Tier 3 PPE for high-risk suspected and confirmed COVID-19 residents.
  • Student clinical placements permitted but restricted from providing care/being exposed to high-risk SCOVID and confirmed COVID patients. Students restricted to one site only. 
  • Where practicable, care facility workers should be limited to working at one site. 
  • If there is an outbreak at a RACF, all worker mobility is to strictly cease.
  • Where there is an outbreak, workers cannot work anywhere else without 14 days quarantine and a negative test 3 days from end of quarantine period.

It is anticipated geographic locations and exposure sites will continue to be updated.

Please monitor this webpage and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria for the latest information.

The Australian Government Department of Health is the funder and regulator of aged care in Australia. For more information and advice visit the Australian Department of Health aged care website.

Table of contents

Supporting residents

Older people should be able to access high quality and safe services that respond to and are appropriate for their needs. Any measures implemented by a residential aged care facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 must be balanced against the broader responsibilities of those facilities to the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of their residents.

You can find more information and resources on COVID-19 for older people, their family, friends and carers on the Information for older people and seniors webpage.

Visiting aged care

Visitors are restricted at all Residential Aged Care Facilities. To keep visits safe, there are some rules that need to be followed.

For more information about visiting care facilities go to the Visiting care facilities webpage.

Density limits

Density limits apply to communal spaces used by visitors and residents. They do not apply to a resident’s private room (even with visitors). Facilities will need to make sure that the number of people in shared visitor/resident areas, such as the reception area, waiting room, or lounges comply with density quotients set out in the Workplace Directions.

To find out more, read the Workplace Directions on the Victoria’s restriction levels webpage.

Resident outings

Aged care residents are free to leave the facility they live in just as any Victorian is able to leave their home.

When residents leave the facility, they should be reminded that they must comply with the same public health directions that all Victorians are required to comply with.

Residents should be screened upon their return, see screening tool below.

Guidance and tools for aged care facilities

Screening tool for residential aged care service to monitor residents

The COVID-19 screening tool for residential aged care services can be used daily to monitor residents for signs of clinical deterioration to allow early escalation and testing for COVID-19.

Managing cases and outbreaks

The Victorian Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF) COVID-19 Outbreak Management Guidelines provides guidelines to assist RACFs to support their workers, residents, families and visitors to prepare for, prevent and manage cases and outbreaks of COVID-19.

These resources and advice are for residential aged care facilities during an outbreak:

For the latest information on case locations, outbreaks, hospital admissions and deaths visit the Case locations and outbreaks webpage.

Admission and transfer

These factsheets provide information for decision making about admission and transfer for people in residential aged care:

Declarations

Before entry to the facility, all visitors, staff and workers are required to make a written declaration that they are:

  • symptom free
  • not a close contact of a case and
  • not currently required to self-isolate.

This is in addition to the declaration required if staff work for another employer at another site. These declarations are able to be made by any means the facility provides for (including via an app), providing it is in writing.

Translated resources

Declaration forms are available in a range of community languages, please see the Translated resources section below.

Further resources

Supporting aged care workers

Testing of asymptomatic residential aged care workers

The Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions no longer require that employers in residential aged care facilities conduct asymptomatic testing of employees. It is now only a recommendation. Facilities are still required to keep records of testing of workers.

This guidance is for public sector residential aged care services and their staff:

You can view the complete industry surveillance testing requirements at Surveillance testing industry list.

Students on clinical placement

Student clinical placements in residential aged care facilities are beginning again in discussion with the Department of Health.

Placements should be conducted with strict health and safety measures in place, with optimal supervision and educational support of students, in order to protect both students and residents.

No placements may occur across multiple sites.

Please refer to advice on the Health service planning – COVID-19 page.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Current advice

Please see the Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE guidance for RACF Factsheet - June 2021 (Word) link below for information on the PPE required for each Tier and the circumstances in which they are applied. The other factsheet provide advice on accessing, donning and doffing and disposing of PPE .

PPE factsheets

Online PPE and infection control training

The Commonwealth Department of Health has online training for care workers across all healthcare settings, including aged care: infection prevention and control for COVID-19.

In addition, Monash Health PPE training program has been developed for Victorian residential aged care workers.

How to don and doff PPE

How to put on (don) and take off (doff) your personal protective equipment (PPE)

Contacts

Resources for home-based care

Webinars

Translated resources

Translated resources