Department of Health

Supporting aged care residents and visitors during COVID-19

Measures implemented by residential aged care facilities (RACFs) to prevent the spread of COVD-19 must be balanced against the broader responsibilities of providers to the physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing of residents. Find information and resources on supporting visitors, and resident health and wellbeing.

Visiting aged care facilities

Visitors are important for ongoing health and wellbeing of residents. The following resources provide guidance on supporting safe visitor access.

Supporting Safe Visits to Residential Aged Care Facilities Covid-19 guidance (Word)

Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19

Visitor access for residential aged care services, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

For information about current requirements refer to the visiting care facilities webpage.

Public health Directions to support safe visits

Providers must follow current public health advice to ensure that appropriate COVID safe precautions are in place. Directions issued by the Chief Health Officer include requirements that must be observed to keep visits safe, such as conditions of entry, density limits, restrictions on the maximum number of visitors and the types of visit.

In exceptional cases only, and normally only on specific advice from the Department of Health, some areas of an RACF may be closed to visitors to keep residents safe or to restrict visitors to close family only.

Declarations and checking in

All visitors are required to make a written declaration before entry to the facility. These declarations can be made by any means the facility provides for (including via an app), providing it is in writing.

Declaration forms are available in a range of community languages.

There is also a requirement to check in using the Victorian QR code system upon entry to all Victorian residential aged care facilities. Victorian care facilities need to keep a record of all workers and visitors for 28 days after entry.

Admission and transfer

The admissions and transfers - residential aged care factsheet (Word) provides information and advice about the admission and transfer of residents, including guidance on screening, isolation and quarantine.

Any case-by-case decision to isolate or quarantine a resident must consider the wellbeing and clinical needs of the resident, the current restriction levels, and rates of community transmission in the local area. This must be reflected in the RACF’s admission standard processes, and outbreak management plan.

The Australian Government Department of Health supports residents in aged care facilities to take temporary leave from an aged care home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resident outings

Aged care residents can leave the facility they live in just as any Victorian can leave their home.

When residents leave the facility, they must comply with the same public health directions as all Victorians. Residents should be screened upon their return using the Safer Care Victoria COVID-19 screening tool for residential aged care services.

Supporting health and wellbeing

Optimising the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of residents is a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the recovery stages. Organisations such as Dementia Australia the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)and COTA have resources to help support the health and wellbeing of residents.

The Safer Care Victoria COVID-19 screening tool for residential aged care services can be used daily to monitor residents for signs of clinical deterioration and to allow timely escalation and testing for COVID-19.

Culturally and linguistically diverse groups

Coronavirus (COVID-19) translated information for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, health professionals and industry is available in over 50 languages on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website.

End of life

End of life support and discussions should not be delayed as these discussions will require additional planning during COVID-19. For more information see Advance care planning in residential aged care services.

The standardised care processes provide evidence-based resources and symptom guidance for priority areas of resident care, including end-of-life care.

End-of-life care of someone living in a residential aged care facility during the COVID-19 pandemic requires site specific planning. Bereavement support referrals can be made to specialist palliative care services and residential in-reach services can provide on-site support.

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement provides information about bereavement support and a range of publications and resources.

Other resources

  • 28 May 2020
  • Duration: 52:28 minutes

Resolving concerns about health and wellbeing

Residents or their representatives should raise any concerns about health and wellbeing with their provider. Every provider has a process in place for raising and addressing concerns.

If concerns about the Residential Aged Care facility’s requirements or actions cannot be resolved, contact:

Reviewed 02 December 2021

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