May

13

2020

Aged Care Update

Working in a residential aged care facility?

North Coast PHN will be getting in touch with residential aged care facilities (RACFs) to discuss what is known from the RACF outbreaks in Sydney.

Planning is underway with the PHN, local health districts and the Public Health Unit (PHU) to provide support to RACFs should an outbreak occur.

Among other activities, North Coast PHN is collating a listing of all GPs working in RACFs across the region.

What can you be doing now?

From the learnings in Sydney: ensure you have telehealth and escripts set up.

As you are reviewing the residents with multi morbidities who have recurrent presentations (UTIs, for example), consider which pre-emptive orders are in place. In an outbreak, time will be limited for staff to respond, particularly in the first week. Finalise any outstanding advance care planning discussions and ensure directives are up to date with the RACF.

Flu vaccinations for all visitors and contractors to RACF came into force from 1 May. This is inclusive of contracted workers such as laundry services. Please prioritise these workers as you are considering your flu vaccination program.

Older clients at home?

A vulnerable persons framework is currently under development to support older people living at home who are COVID-19 confirmed.

As interim steps, know that these clients are supported by Hospital in the Home. If they have aged care services already, they will have their services automatically increased by their provider. The PHU is notifying providers of a confirmed case immediately.

For clients without services, they will have Hospital in the Home and for additional supports you can contact:

My Aged Care
1800 200 422
Mon – Fri, 8 am – 8 pm
Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm

For immediate services through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme in the form of meals, hygiene support and shopping.

Testing

For vulnerable frail aged clients who are living at home and unable to visit a respiratory clinic, GPs can refer to:

  • Northern NSW: Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology performs home visits for swabbing.
  • MNC: limited services available through Douglass Hanley Moir Pathology.

RACF residents should have plans in place with either their pathology providers or:

  • Northern NSW: the nurse practitioner in-reach program will swab.
  • MNC: a number of facilities have trained their registered nurses. Sonic Healthcare will do on-site testing.

Please be assured regular cross-sector meetings (LHDs, PHN and PHU) and other communication strategies have been underway since February with all aged care providers (RACF and community) to prepare.

If you have any queries, please contact Bron McCrae, NCPHN’s Deputy Director Healthy Living and Ageing: bmccrae@hnc.org.au