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:
- 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.
- 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.
Table of contents
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 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.
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
- Residential Aged Care Facilities Factsheet - 26 March 2021 (Word)
- COVID19 Response Guidance - updates for residential aged care facilities - 26 March 2021 (Word)
- How to prepare a COVID-19 outbreak response kit (Word)
- Creating COVID-19 zones in residential aged care facilities (Word)
- Example Aged Care floor plan (PDF)
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:
- Managing residents in aged care during an outbreak (Word)
- Assisting patients with hygiene care during COVID-19 – risk minimisation for staff (PDF)
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:
- Taking a resident home from residential aged care in an outbreak (Word)
- Transfer protocol for residents in aged care who test positive to COVID-19 - Factsheet (Word)
- Advice for residential aged care in relation to admission and transfer into RACFs - 12 November 2020 (Word)
- Advance care planning in residential aged care services - 28 January 2021 (Word)
- Dementia Australia – Tips for residential care providers
- Engaging interpreters during COVID-19
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.
Declaration forms are available in a range of community languages, please see the Translated resources section below.
- Well for life toolkit – emotional wellbeing for residents of aged care facilities
- Visiting care facilities
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:
- FAQs for staff of public sector residential aged care facilities (Word)
- Staff asymptomatic testing - Reporting Form and Instructions (Word)
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)
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 .
- Standard sequence for putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) personal protective equipment (Word)
- COVID-19 PPE guidance for RACF Factsheet - June 2021 (Word)
- COVID-19 - Disposing clinical waste (PDF)
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)
- Subscribe to Victorian Chief Health Officer’s CHO alerts.
- Commonwealth Department of Health is the funder and regulator of aged care.
- Victoria Aged Care Response Centre brings together Commonwealth and Victorian state government agencies in a coordinated effort to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in aged care facilities.
- Australian Aged Care Quality Commission’s role is to protect and enhance the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life of people receiving aged care.
- Commissioner for Senior Victorians, Gerard Mansour, provides advice to the government on the needs and interests of senior Victorians.
Resources for home-based care
- Home based aged care providers (Word)
- Dementia Australia – Tips for home care providers
- Well for life toolkit – for older people living at home
- Transcript webinar 2: COVID-19 and supporting worker wellbeing in the aged care sector 2 April 2020 (Word)
- Webinar 3: COVID-19 Caring for Vulnerable Victorians: medication planning and management (16 April 2020)
- Transcript webinar 3: COVID-19 Caring for Vulnerable Victorians: medication planning and management (Word)
- Webinar 4: COVID-19 Supporting resident emotional and psychosocial wellbeing (1 May 2020)
- Transcript webinar 4: COVID-19 Supporting resident emotional and psychosocial wellbeing (1 May 2020) (Word)
- Protecting Vulnerable Victorians: A COVID-19 webinar for Victorian residential aged care (19 March 2020)
- COVID-19 and supporting worker wellbeing in the aged care sector (2 April 2020)
- Webinar 5: COVID-19 and palliative care in residential aged care (28 May 2020 (Word)
- Transcript 5: COVID-19 Palliative care in residential aged care during the pandemic (28 May 2020) (Word)
- COVID-19 Screening tool for aged care webinar
- COVID-19 Screening tool for Residential Aged Care Services - lessons learned webinar
- Deklarasyon ng bisita - Visitor declaration - Filipino (Word)
- Deklarasyon ng mga kawani - Staff declaration - Filipino (Word)
- Δήλωση επισκέπτη - Visitor declaration - Greek (Word)
- Δήλωση εργαζομένου - Staff declaration - Greek (Word)
- Dichiarazione del visitatore - Visitor declaration -Italian (Word)
- வருகையாளருக்கான ஒப்புதல் - Visitor declaration - Tamil (Word)
- உத்தியோகத்தர்களுக்கான ஒப்புதல் - Staff declaration - Tamil (Word)
- 访客声明 - Visitor declaration - Simplified Chinese (Word)
- 訪客聲明 - Visitor declaration - Traditional Chinese (Word)
- ਮੁਲਾਕਾਤੀ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਐਲਾਨ - Visitor declaration - Punjabi (Word)
- ਕਰਮਚਾਰੀ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਐਲਾਨ - Staff declaration - Punjabi (Word)
- Caddaynta shaqaalaha - Staff declaration - Somali (Word)
- Declaración para visitantes - Visitor declaration - Spanish (Word)
- कर्मचारी घोषणा - Staff declaration - Nepali (Word)
- Tờ khai của khách đến thăm - Visitor declaration - Vietnamese (Word)
- Tờ khai của nhân viên - Staff declaration - Vietnamese (Word)
- Ziyaretçi beyannamesi - Visitor declaration - Turkish (Word)