Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson is urging aged care services to take all reasonable precautions to protect their workforce and consumers as Covid-19 impacts increase, alongside Influenza cases, this winter.
Find more information in the July 2022 Aged Care Quality Bulletin.
From Monday, 11 July an additional 7.4 million Australians became eligible to receive a fourth COVID-19 vaccination. This followed the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) updating its recommendations.
ATAGI recommends people aged 50 to 64 years join those aged 65 and over in having their fourth dose. People aged 30 to 49 years may choose to have a fourth shot, as they are now eligible also.
Booster intervals have also been reduced. Follow the link for the full details.
The COVID-19 vaccination program is targeted at preventing severe disease, by providing additional protection to those with risk factors for severe disease. On 25 March 2022, ATAGI recommended an additional winter booster dose (fourth dose for most people) for the highest risk groups: people aged 65 years and above, residents of aged care or disability care facilities, people with severe immunocompromise and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or above.
Full details can be found in this link.
The recent emergency events across the country, including ongoing management of the COVID-19 pandemic and response to natural disasters, continue to highlight the importance of effective crisis management and decision making for aged care providers.
Providers are reminded that online training modules covering aged care emergency and crisis management leadership training remain available until June 30 – with new registrations being accepted until the end of May 2022 – register now online.
Targeted at senior leaders of aged care providers, the training can help equip you with the knowledge, tools and confidence to build or strengthen your organisation’s emergency and crisis management capability and assist to better ensure continued delivery of safe and quality care in challenging situations.
The self-paced online modules are available now and are completely free for participants, with over 1,820 registrations to date. Participants who finish all modules will be able to print off a transcript upon completion of the course.
The training is delivered by First 5 Minutes and RiskLogic, supported by funding from the Department.
People with disability and their carers are now eligible for free rapid antigen tests (RATs) as recently announced by the NSW Government.
How to order your supply
If you are a charity or non-government organisation, and registered with the Australia Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), you can order your free supply online via the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). Your organisation does not need to be funded or contracted by DCJ, and you can order 300-1200 tests.
People with disability and their carers will be able to collect RATs from their not-for-profit disability provider and neighbourhood and community centres.
DCJ is also providing RATs to Neighbourhood and Community Centres contracted under their Targeted Earlier Intervention program.
Please see DCJ’s website for more information.
Currently under the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2022, a person must have three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to work in a residential aged care facility (RACF) or provide in-home and community aged care services or disability services (unless a medical exemption applies).
The third dose must be received by the later of:
• 12 April 2022, or
• Six weeks from the due date of the person’s third dose, with the due date being 13 weeks after the person receives the second dose.
An exemption has been made to the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2022 in relation to the booster requirements.
The exemption allows a person who has had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to continue working without the third dose, only if they have been assessed as being essential to the operation of a residential aged care facility or the provision of disability or aged care services by the operator of the residential aged care facility or the responsible person for the disability or in-home and community aged care service.
The exemption is also subject to the condition that the worker take reasonable steps to get vaccinated as soon as practical.
The updated advice and exemption has been reflected on the NSW Health website. See further information on disability services and exemptions.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) statement on winter season preparedness strongly recommends that vaccination remains one of the most effective protective factors for both COVID-19 and influenza. The link below provides research and identifies those people most at risk and recommendations for people over 65 years.
ATAGI recommends an additional booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine to increase vaccine protection before winter for selected population groups who are at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and who have received their primary vaccination and first booster dose. These groups are:
• Adults aged 65 years and older
• Residents of aged care or disability care facilities
• People aged 16 years and older with severe immunocompromise (as defined in the ATAGI statement on the use of a 3rd primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised)
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older.
More information is available here: https://www.health.gov.au/news/atagi-statement-on-recommendations-on-a-winter-booster-dose-of-covid-19-vaccine
The Australia Council of Social Services has released a new report summarising the impact of the COVID-19 recession and recovery on income inequality and poverty in Australia.
This report includes ABS data tracking inequality during 2020 and 2021.
The data tells the tale of two very different pandemic experiences, dependent on income and opportunities. Full report here.
COVID-19 vaccine third dose (booster) mandatory for aged and disability care workers in New South Wales
The Government of New South Wales announced that residential, in-home and community aged care workers and disability care workers in New South Wales must receive a minimum of three COVID-19 vaccine doses as a condition of employment.
Further information is available at:
Byron Bay will soon have its own pop-up Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic.
It will run February 24 to March 4 at the Byron Bay Services Club.
All walk-ins are welcome.
Two COVID-19 oral therapies will be available on the North Coast soon.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration provisionally approved the Lagevrio® (molnupiravir) and Paxlovid® (nirmatrelvir + ritonavir) antiviral medications.
Follow the link for further details.
The Federal Government has announced a $210 million support package that will provide $800 bonuses to aged care workers in response to ongoing staffing pressures in the sector. The bonus will be available to all aged care staff including cleaning and catering staff.
For full story follow the link: https://www.agedcareguide.com.au/talking-aged-care/government-announces-800-bonus-for-aged-care-staff
Compulsory face masks are back. But some are better than others. The following link shares the key points about the benefits of each mask. Full article here.
A statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) on rapid antigen testing (RAT) for current high community prevalence environment can be accessed in the link below.