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Residential aged care

Residential aged care facilities are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of respiratory infection. Older residents are at risk of severe disease and are more likely to develop complications if they get coronavirus (COVID-19).

Managers, staff, family, friends and residents are working together to protect our most vulnerable community members.

In order to protect our residents, restrictions on visits to aged care facilities apply.

Who can enter or remain on premises

You must not enter or remain on the premises:

  • if you have  symptoms that are consistent with coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • a body temperature higher than 37.5 degrees
    • coughing, sore throat, fatigue, shortness of breath or other symptoms of respiratory illness
  • you do not have an up-to-date vaccination against influenza
    • this does not apply if you have a medical contraindication to the vaccine
  • you have been in contact with a person with coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can enter and remain on the premises of an aged care facility if you are one of the following:

  • an officer, employee or contractor of the facility
  • a person providing goods or services necessary for the operation of the facility
  • a person providing health, medical or pharmaceutical goods or services to a resident of the facility
  • a person providing care and support to a resident of the facility
  • a person providing end of life support to a resident of the facility
  • a person required for emergency management or law enforcement
  • a prospective resident of the facility
  • a legal practitioner providing legal services to a resident of the facility
    • A legal practitioner entering the premises of the facility:
      • (a) to take instructions from a client who is a resident of the facility or
      • (b) for the purpose of executing a will by a client who is a resident of the facility.
  • a person performing regulatory functions or duties in relation to the facility, including an inspection of the facility.

Persons without up-to-date vaccinations

A person who does not have an up-to-date vaccination against influenza can only enter and remain on the premises to:

  • deliver an item
    • the item must be delivered without entering any building on the premises.
  • provide an emergency service that is necessary for the effective operation of the facility (e.g. a plumber making emergency repairs if a vaccinated contractor is unable to attend)
  • protect the health and safety of staff and residents (e.g. an ambulance officer transporting a resident).

While on the premises of an aged care facility, persons without up-to-date vaccinations must

  • remain on the premises no longer than reasonably required
  • practise physical distancing wherever possible.

Residents

Like all members of the community, you have an important role to play in protecting your own health.

In addition to practising good hygiene and physical distancing, there will be restrictions on visits to residential aged care facilities.

Large group visits, gatherings and external excursions will be postponed. You will be supported to stay connected with family and friends by phone and video calls.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you will be kept separate from other residents and will not be able to see visitors.

Health care and residential care workers will continue to provide support and care while you are isolated.

If you need to leave your room, such as for medical care, you will be required to wear a surgical mask, which will be provided by healthcare workers. There is no need for any healthy resident to wear a mask.

Visitors

You cannot visit a residential aged care facility if:

  • you have returned from overseas or interstate in the last 14 days
  • you have been in contact with someone confirmed to have coronavirus (COVID-19) in the last 14 days
  • you have a fever or, symptoms of a respiratory illness
  • you have not been vaccinated against influenza.

From 1 May 2020, you must have your influenza vaccination in order to visit an aged care facility.

Each resident may have one visitor at a time or two if the visitors arrive together. There are no limitations on the amount of visitors a resident can have each day.

All residential aged care facilities have COVID-19 management plans in place. Make sure you follow the directions of facility staff at all times.

You will also be encouraged to practise physical distancing where possible, including to stay away when unwell.

Managers and staff

Residential aged care facilities are taking extra precautions to keep residents safe from coronavirus (COVID-19).

The health of staff will be closely monitored. New and returning residents will be screened before entry. Signage and other types of communication will be used to explain the steps being taken to protect the health of residents.