Aged Care - COVID-19
To reduce the spread of COVID-19 within South Australia, the State Coordinator has issued a Direction under the Emergency Management Act 2004 to limit entry into residential aged care facilities (RACF) in South Australia.
The Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 14) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 came into effect on 21 November 2020.
Important reminder: No person who has attended any of the locations identified in relation to the Parafield cluster should be permitted to enter or remain on the premises of a RACF, unless they have been tested for COVID-19 and received a negative test result.
COVID-19 Infection control training
All employees or contractors who provide personal care or nursing care to residents must complete Understanding COVID-19 for Aged Care Workers prior to entering or remaining on the premises of a RACF.
COVID-19 Infection Control Plans
All RACF must submit a COVID-19 Infection Control Plan for all communal areas at the facility to the Department for Health and Wellbeing for approval.
COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities
The COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities (PDF 1MB)is available as a resource document to guide individual Residential Aged Care Facilities in the prevention, preparation, management and recovery stages of responding to COVID-19 situations in South Australia.
To supplement the Strategy, an Integrated Response Framework for the Management of Multiple Outbreaks in Residential Aged Care Facilities in South Australia (PDF 780KB) has now been developed. This document outlines the South Australian integrated response to the risk of multiple concurrent outbreaks of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities, establishes a blueprint to guide the collaborative roles and responsibilities of accountable responders, and identifies specific challenges and solutions associated with a range of escalating scenarios.
Aged Care Workforce
Operators of Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) need to implement a number of changes to the way that employees and contractors at their facilities work.
- Single site restrictions for personal care workers – Personal care workers must not work across multiple RACF sites unless 14 days have passed between shifts at the first and second RACF.
- PPE requirements - A person who provides nursing, medical, allied health or personal care services to residents must wear appropriate PPE (masks) whenever a distance of 1.5m between themselves and the resident cannot be maintained.
Relatives are encouraged to wear masks when visiting a loved one. For more information, see Infection Prevention and Control Residential Aged Care Facilities – PPE (PDF 217KB).
- PPE Training - Training staff in the correct use of PPE minimises the potential of COVID-19 transmission within residential aged care facilities amongst workers and residents.
The SA Health
Training Tool for the Correct Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
for Residential Aged Care Facilities (PDF 232KB) provides information about training staff in the use of PPE and resources for residential aged care staff. The Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE) Education and Training PowerPoint (PDF 1MB) can also be used for education and training purposes. The training tool provides a standardised approach to training and competency assessment in the safe use of PPE.
The following video can be used as an additional resource for staff training: COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Education and Training for Residential Aged Care Facilities.
- Training requirements - All employees or contractors who provide personal care or nursing care to residents must complete Understanding COVID-19 for Aged Care Workers before entering or remaining on the premises of a RACF. Refresher training must be completed every two months.
- Workforce Management Plans - All RACF must have in place a Workforce Management Plan to keep records of all outside employment undertaken by their employees, contractors or volunteers. This is to assist with contract tracing if required.
- COVID-19 Infection Control Plans - All RACF must submit a COVID-19 Infection Control Plan for all communal areas at the facility to the Department for Health and Wellbeing for approval via Health.COVIDInfectionControlPlan@sa.gov.au. To complete a plan, download the Residential Aged Care Facilities COVID Infection Control Plan Template (DOCX 597KB) and read the Residential Aged Care Facility COVID-19 Infection Control Plan Guidance (PDF 441KB)
At present, residents can receive one visit by up to two family members or friends per day.
- The operator of a RACF may approve additional care and support visits for a resident, if appropriate or required under the circumstances.
- Processes should be put in place to ensure that residents are able to receive visitors safely. This includes appropriate screening of visitors upon entry to the RACF.
- Visits should be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the RACF, rather than communal areas.
- Physical distancing of 1.5m should be adhered to wherever possible.
- Visits for the purpose of providing end of life support to a resident are permitted and numbers of visitors are not restricted in these circumstances.
Requesting an Exemption in Exceptional Circumstances
SA Health authorised officers are able to provide exemptions to the Directions if they believe exceptional circumstances exist. All requests for exemptions must be made in writing to the Department for Health and Wellbeing via firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests should include contact details and any information relevant to the request, including the urgency of the situation.
All interstate travellers must complete a cross border pre-approval form at least 14 days prior to arrival into South Australia. The cross border travel application form is available from SA Police.
All staff and visitors to a RACF must be vaccinated against 2020 seasonal influenza. Except for infants too young to be vaccinated, exceptional end of life circumstances, and emergency situations.
The only exemption to this requirement is a person who has a medical contraindication to the influenza vaccine. A letter from a medical practitioner must be provided to the RACF by any unvaccinated person seeking to enter under this exemption.
Retirement village operators should refer to the fact sheet - COVID 19 advice for retirement village operators (PDF 203KB). This fact sheet provides information and advice to operators of retirement villages in South Australia and outlines the measures that operators should take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to retirement village residents and others.
The Aged Care Direction does not apply to retirement villages, however, retirement villages and residents must comply with the restrictions outlined in the Public Activities Direction
For more information
- Information for Operators of Residential Aged Care Facilities (Residential Aged Care Facilities Direction (PDF 306KB)
- Information for Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities (PDF 251KB)
- Residential Aged Care Facilities co-located with other facilities (PDF 151KB)
- Victorian visitors providing end of life support to a resident (PDF 254KB)
- Management of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities (PDF 218KB)
- Infection Prevention and Control Residential Aged Care Facilities – PPE (PDF 217KB)
- COVID-19 Advice for Retirement Village Operators (PDF 203KB)
- Screening Checklist for Residential Aged Care Facilities (PDF 150KB)
- Residential Aged Care Facilities COVID Infection Control Plan Template (DOCX 597KB)
- Residential Aged Care Facility COVID-19 Infection Control Plan Guidance (PDF 441KB)
- COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities (PDF 1MB)
- Guidelines for a Precautionary Response to a Community Outbreak (PDF 127KB)