Compilation of COVID-19 Information and Resources

Given the varying and ever-changing nature of information regarding the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, this section has been compiled to bring together all the relevant information and resources currently available.

Current COVID-19 affected areas and screening information

The Department of Health also has information on the latest COVID-19 case locations and alerts in NSW, which is continually being updated as the situation evolves.

Advice for healthcare facilities, residential aged care facilities, disability care facilities and home care service providers has been updated, including:
COVID-19 screening at NSW healthcare facilities – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
COVID-19: Advice for aged care services – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (nsw.gov.au)
Information for disability support providers – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (nsw.gov.au)

Key points, safety measures and current locations of close contacts can also be found here.

COVID-19 vaccine information and updates:
Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout began on 22 March 2021; this factsheet outlines the general practices, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, and GP-led respiratory clinics who will be able to administer the COVID-19 vaccines during this time.

The Department of Health has an updated COVID-19 vaccine doses policy outlining how to manage make up doses for those in aged care facilities who have missed their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as general information about excess doses and alternative access to vaccination. A key message that is being promoted is that first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine should not be delivered at a second dose clinic.

The Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout in aged care webinar, held on 26 March, is now available for viewing. OPAN’s COVID-19 webinar on informed consent is also available for viewing.

An update on the link between the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and blood clots has also been provided by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). There have been no links found between the vaccine and general clotting disorders, however extra precautions are being taken and current advice is to defer any COVID-19 vaccination for people with a history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and/or heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HIT).

Read ATAGI’s full statement:

COVID-19 vaccine resources and materials

The Department of Health has developed a factsheet for staff in residential aged care, providing updates on where and how to access a COVID-19 vaccination, and information on phases 1a and 1b of the rollout.

The vaccine aged care readiness toolkit prepared by the Department of Health with steps for residential aged care providers on how to prepare for vaccination day, obtain consent, monitor for reactions, and other information.

A disability service providers toolkit has also been prepared to help disability service providers in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines.

A number of COVID-19 vaccination resources and materials are also available for providers, residents, carers and families in residential aged care as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations:

Resource pack for residential aged care
Communication materials – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

There is also a COVID-19 Vaccination Program Implementation Plan for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities, which ensures that information and services relating to the COVID-19 rollout are available and accessible in different languages and within appropriate facilities and locations.
The Department of Health also has a COVID-19 vaccine myth buster webpage designed to answer any questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines to reduce misinformation and increase the public’s evidence-based knowledge on the vaccines.
Lastly, the Department of Health now has a decision guide to help frail older people make a decision about COVID-19 vaccination, including information about the Pfizer vaccine, risks, and known side effects.

 

Continuity of Support Clients CHSP Funding Change Notification

Changes have been made to the management of Additional Support Applications (ASAs) effective immediately for the rest of the 2020/21 financial year. Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) additional funding support has been removed and ASAs will now be submitted as a form of contract variation to their current Continuity of Services (CoS) grant agreement and not through a CHSP funded service. This means that new ASAs submitted for CoS clients will no longer be authorised access to Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) funded supports, however clients currently receiving CHSP funded services can continue to do so until there is a change in their needs and a new ASA is submitted. The $8,000 cap will remain in place for clients living in their own home – the provisions for exceptional circumstances will still be available.

For any questions, contact your Funding Manager or commonwealth.cos@health.gov.au.

 

Quality Indicator Program Data Elements Summary

The Australian Government has provided a summary of the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) data elements for implementation from 1 July 2021. The summary includes quality indicator data elements regarding pressure injuries, physical restraint, significant or consecutive unplanned weight loss, falls and major injury, and medication management (polypharmacy and antipsychotics).

Read the summary

 

AN-ACC Shadow Assessments Commencing in April 2021

The shadow assessment period has begun this April and will be running for 12 months. During this period, everyone living in an Australian Government-funded residential aged care facility (except residents who are nearing end of life) will receive an AN-ACC assessment, in addition to the current ACFI funding arrangements. Residential aged care facilities will then be contacted by one of six independent Assessment Management Organisations (AMOs) located around Australia who have been contracted to conduct these assessments on behalf of the Australian Government. These assessors all have clinical qualifications and have been trained extensively on the AN-ACC assessment process. As these assessments will occur in the background, current funding and payment arrangements will still apply during this period. For any questions, contact the Department of Health on (02) 6289 1773 from 8.00AM to 6.00PM AEST or email ANACC.shadow@health.gov.au.
AN-ACC Shadow Assessments FAQ fact sheet

 

Media Release – Government Campaign Encouraging Aged Care Job Opportunities

The Australian Government has launched a new campaign aimed at attracting people to work in the aged care sector. This campaign, “Bring your Thing”, has been commissioned by the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council. It is part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and coincides with the broader strategy for boosting the aged care workforce to meet increasing demand. Over the next two years $92million will be invested in attracting, training and supporting new home and residential care sector workers.

Read the full media release
 

 

Change to MPIR from 1 April 2021

The maximum permissible interest rate (MPIR) will be reduced to 4.01% from 1 April to 30 June 2021 for calculating accommodation prices and interest on refunds of accommodation lump sum balances. The current Schedules of Fees and Charges are as follows, including current MPIR prices:

Residential and home care recipients who started care on or after 1 July 2014
Residential and home care recipients who started care before 1 July 2014

 

Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) Commencing from 1 April – Module Now Available

The Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) has now commenced. From 1 April, residential aged care providers need to report all ‘Priority 1’ incidents within 24 hours using the new SIRS tile on the My Aged Care Provider Portal.

The first SIRS module is now available on Alis, the Aged Care Learning Information Solution. This module provides information about the scheme, incident management and contains a short survey for self-assessment of your knowledge about SIRS. All Commonwealth-funded aged care services can access 4 free registrations to our online learning platform until 31 October 2021. You can also purchase additional Alis registrations, if needed.

A quick reference guide on how to access the SIRS portal has been made available.

More information on SIRS
To access the SIRS modules or register for Alis
 

 

Revised CHSP Program Manual Available

The Department of Health has revised the CHSP Program Manual 2020-2022. This revised version outlines any changes made from the current version to the proposed version. Some notable changes include assistance with care and housing, sign language interpreting services, clarification on domestic assistance, changes to goods, equipment and assistive technology, changes to home modifications, changes on sector support and development, and service provider responsibilities.

See all the revisions to the CHSP Manual

 

Consultations with Aged Care Facilities about Residents’ Hearing Health

The Roadmap for Hearing Health initiative, supported by the Department of Health, is putting key initiatives into action through $21million allocated in the 2020-21 budget over the next 5 years towards scoping, developing and testing measures for residential aged care staff to support residents with hearing loss. This includes a gap analysis of processes and workforce training in hearing health in aged care facilities. If you’re interested in participating in this consultation, email the Department at ACworkforceprograms@health.gov.au.

 

Grant Opportunities Available

Here are a few grant opportunities currently available for the remainder of the financial year.

COVID-19 Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Infrastructure Grant Program

This grant helps frontline services supporting victim survivors of sexual, domestic and family violence to respond to challenges produced by COVID-19, and help to ensure the safety, wellbeing and protection of these vulnerable individuals. This one-off capital infrastructure grant funding supports projects in areas including upgrades to women’s refuges, expanded accommodation and better facilities for children and people with a disability
Conditions and eligibility criteria apply. The grant closes at 5.00pm on 23 April 2021.

More information
To apply

Residential Aged Care Business Improvement Fund

Grant opportunities for the Business Improvement Fund for small to medium residential aged care providers close at 2.00pm on 30 April 2021. Funding streams that can be applied for include business improvement, sale of a facility and closure of a facility. For any questions, email the Business Improvement Fund at bif@health.gov.au.

Watch ACSA’s webinar on accessing grants from the Business Improvement Fund
For more information
To apply

Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) Program – Service Coordinator

This grant opportunity is only open to existing Continuity of Support (CoS) service providers, and closes at 2.00pm on 30 June 2021. This grant opportunity is to assist providers in coordinating certain disability services to older Australians who were previously under the CoS program. All organisations delivering CoS services to older Australians are encouraged to view the Grant Opportunity Guidelines and supplementary material. For any questions, contact the Community Grants Hub on 1800 048 998 or email commonwealthdsoa@health.gov.au

To apply

Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19

This grant will assist approved Residential Aged Care providers, approved National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP) providers and approved Home Care providers to minimise the risk of infection to aged care workers, residents and other aged care service users. This grant closes at 2.00pm on 30 June 2021.

To apply

 

Update on Improved Payment Arrangements Budget Measure

Due to the updates made by the Improved Payment Administration measure, grants will be made available to help providers to make the transition smoother. The Improved Payment Administration Transitional Support For Home Care Providers grant will provide support to the most vulnerable home care providers who are most at risk of experiencing serious viability issues because of these changes. This grant closes at 12.00pm on 31 December 2021. For any questions, email IPA.grants@health.gov.au

Factsheet for Care recipients
Factsheet for providers
To apply

 

Western Sydney Aged Care Royal Commission Brief

Western Sydney Community Forum’s Sector Support and Development Team hosted a webinar detailing the key themes to come out of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Themes included quality regulation, long-term aged care workforce improvement, governance, aged care fees, and financial oversight and regulation.

Watch the webinar recording
Access the presentation slides here