Residential aged care
To protect our vulnerable aged care residents the following restrictions are in place for all aged care homes in the Northern Territory:
- A person may enter an aged care facility for any reason (subject to the usual rules of the facility) provided they are not a person who is not permitted to enter a facility.
- There are no limits on the number of visitors permitted to visit a resident at any one time.
- In addition to symptomatic people, the following people are not permitted to enter an aged care facility:
- (a) a person who has been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days;
- (b) a person who must quarantine under any COVID-19 Directions;
- (c) a person who was, within the previous 14 days, in a place that is declared to be a COVID-19 hotspot at the time of entry;
- (d) a person who is required by me to be tested for COVID-19 if:
- the person has not yet been tested; or
- the person was tested but has not received a negative result for COVID-19 infection.
- A quarantine worker who enters an aged care facility must wear a mask and stay 1.5m away from any other person if they have entered a quarantine facility within the last 14 days.
- Employees and contractors of aged care facilities who work at other workplaces must provide the details of their workplaces to the proprietor, who must keep a record of this information and provide it to an authorised officer upon request.
- Employees and contractors with other workplaces must, without delay, report to the proprietor of the facility if they become aware that a person is infected with COVID-19 at the other workplace.
- Facilities must collect contact information from visitors using the Territory Check-in app.
The definition of an aged care facility now includes residential care that is funded by a grant agreement under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program. This change was made during the lock down period and has been retained.
View the Chief Health Officer Directions.
National Cabinet have announced that all aged care workers are to have had at least their first COVID-19 vaccination by 17 September 2021.
A person who is an officer, employee or contractor of an aged care facility must not enter or remain on the premises of the aged care facility if the person has not had:
- on or before 17 September 2021- the first does of a COVID-19 vaccine; and
- on or before 31 October 2021- the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Evidence of vaccination must be given to the proprietor of the facility. The proprietor must keep a record of the vaccination status of all officers, employees or contractors. If requested by an authorised officer, the proprietor must provide this information to the authorised officer.
Mandatory vaccination FAQs
There are no exemptions to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for the Residential Aged Care workforce.
Anyone that has an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination should visit their GP. If it is a serious reaction the GP will report this and support provided by the CDC regarding whether a different vaccine is needed for the second dose.
Every residential aged care worker will have priority access to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of age, through their workplace at onsite clinics or nearby hubs.
Talk to your facility or employer about which of the below options are available to you:
- Onsite clinics at your workplace: These clinics are being delivered by Commonwealth vaccine providers, GPs or aged care providers.
- Dedicated vaccination hubs: These hubs will be located near residential aged care facilities and will be delivered by Commonwealth vaccine providers.
- Roving in-reach clinics: Commonwealth roving clinics are returning to aged care facilities to deliver in-reach clinics in COVID-19 outbreak locations.
You can also choose to get vaccinated at:
- Primary care clinics: Identify yourself as a residential aged care worker to get priority access (within seven days) at a general practice, Commonwealth vaccination clinic (GP respiratory clinic), Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service or pharmacy. Find a clinic and how to book your COVID-19 vaccine.
- NT Health Clinics. You can book online.
All residential aged care workers are prioritised to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of age.
This includes contractors and volunteers engaged by residential aged care facilities, allied health professionals who provide on-site services, and students on placement in aged care facilities.
You can also choose to receive the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your GP if you are aged under 60.
It is important to get vaccinated now with the COVID-19 vaccine available to you.
Vaccination will help protect you, your family and those you care for against hospitalisation and death from COVID-19.
Casual residential aged care workers are eligible to receive via their employer:
- $80 per dose for offsite vaccination
- A day of paid leave ($185) if unwell after vaccination and you have no other leave entitlements.
These payments are made possible via the Residential Aged Care COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Support Grant program. Applications for the grant program are made by residential aged care providers.
You can discuss the grant program with your aged care facility.
Your residential aged care service must now keep records and report on the number of residents and workers who have received a COVID-19 vaccination.
Your employer also needs to know how many of its workers are vaccinated to ensure you have access to a vaccination before it becomes mandatory on 17 September 2021.
Pregnant women are more likely to experience the severe outcomes of COVID-19 infection. Residential Aged Care Facilities are high risk settings for COVID-19. Being vaccinated offers protection against the serious consequences of COVID-19 infection for pregnant workers whether they are exposed to the virus in the workplace or elsewhere. It also reduces the risk of transmission of the virus to the residents of a facility who are also at high risk of severe outcomes.
The requirement to receive a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination applies to people who are:
- Employed or engaged by or on behalf of a RACF (whether as an employee, contractor or agency staff) to work or perform duties at a premises of a RACF on a full time, part time or casual basis, including:
- Direct care workers (nurses, personal care workers, allied health professionals and allied health assistants)
- Administration staff (reception, management, administration)
- Ancillary staff (food preparation, cleaning, laundry, garden, maintenance)
- Lifestyle / social care (music/art therapy)
- Transport drivers of residents of RACF
- Volunteers engaged by a RACF to undertake duties at a RACF
- Students on placement at a RACF
- Medical practitioners and allied health professionals who attend and provide care to residents of a RACF whether employed or engaged by the resident, RACF or another person.
The COVID Digital Certificate shows the immunisation details recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register. It becomes available once someone has received all the required vaccinations. For someone awaiting their second dose, the Immunisation History Statement is proof of this. Both of these are available to individuals via their Medicare portal.
Advice for staff and operators of aged care facilities
All staff and visitors should be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors on arrival to the facility.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s entry screening advice recommends that all staff and visitors are asked a series of screening questions about COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors upon arrival.
These questions can be enhanced by temperature testing using a no-touch method such as an infra-red temperature detection device.
Screening questions should include whether the person has been in a place that is declared to be COVID-19 hotspot in the previous 14 days.
Staff who have symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild, must be excluded from the workplace and should get tested immediately.
Facilities should have a strong infection control program to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
Facilities are urged to have a COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plan in place. This will help prepare for a case or outbreak of COVID-19 among staff and/or residents. Find detailed guidelines on preparing for and managing a COVID-19 outbreak in the Australian Department of Health’s COVID-19 guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities.
NT COVID-19 Aged Care Surge workforce
Workforce availability is critical to successful outbreak management in aged care settings.
Workforce preparedness remains the primary responsibility of the aged care provider. Providers need to be well prepared for workforce issues in an outbreak and consider that there is a risk that the aged care workforce would be significantly impacted. This will create a shortage of skilled aged care staff in an already vulnerable workforce.
The NT Government has developed a plan for a surge workforce to respond to an outbreak should the Residential Aged Care Service workforce be depleted. The NT Health surge workforce is drawn from current health employees or casually contracted external staff. Staff have received two days training specific to working in an aged care setting including Infection Prevention Control and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This contingency will be in place until the Commonwealth surge workforce arrive in the NT (48 -72 hours).
For more information about Aged Care please visit the following sites: