As of 11 August 2022
With increasing COVID-19 in the community, it is important that home care service providers maintain a high degree of vigilance and continue to take precautionary actions such as regular screening of staff, mask wearing and hand hygiene.
In-home and community aged care and disability care workers are required to have 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
A vaccination exemption is in place until 6 September 2022, allowing a person to continue working without the third dose.
The advice on this page also applies to people working within the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Home care service providers who are household and close contacts should not attend vulnerable clients unless a specific COVID-19 return to work plan is in place
All staff should be vaccinated according to the recommended schedule in the ATAGI guidance for residential aged care workers.
Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 2) 2022 all staff, health practitioners and students providing in-home and community aged care or disability services must have had 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The third dose is due 3 months after a person's second dose. For staff (including new staff) who have had 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, they must have their third dose within 6 weeks of their third dose being due.
Exemptions under the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 2) 2022 relating to the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccination may apply to some staff, including:
See further information on Public Health Orders and Exemptions.
These exemptions do not permanently exempt the person from the requirement to have a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Staff who do not meet the conditions in the exemption instrument must comply with the vaccination direction in the Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order (No 2) 2022. Providers should work with staff to make sure that they are able to access their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine when it is due.
Staff who have a medical contraindication to all reasonably available COVID-19 vaccinations will require a COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate.
If a staff member has had a high-risk exposure to COVID-19, managers in
aged care home services should refer to Appendix 2 of
the Residential Aged Care Facility ARI Guidance; and managers in
disability home care services should refer to Appendix 2 of
the Disability Care Facility ARI Guidance for information on how to
assess the level of risk and testing regimes supporting staff returning to work
and assisting in maintaining the continuity of care.
Staff who are a household or close contact must comply with the NSW Health Household and Close Contact Guidelines and must not provide services for at least 7 days after the last person in their household had a positive COVID-19 test. After 7 days, the employer must undertake a risk assessment before approving the return to work. This may include asking the staff member to take additional precautions to decrease the risk of transmission.
If a staff member is critical to service delivery and their absence would compromise delivery of care, please discuss with the local Public Health Unit whether a return to work within 7 days may be allowed with additional risk mitigating measures. Staff who have recovered from COVID-19 are able to continue to work if they come in contact with COVID-19 in the 4 weeks after recovery and remain asymptomatic.
Minimise staff working across multiple settings (such as in-home and residential care). Where ceasing staff movement across settings is not practical, additional measures should be put in place, such as maintaining records of staff and work locations and increasing use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
All in-home care service providers must maintain vigilance to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into a person's home.
Ensure staff actively ask clients about symptoms on arrival. If staff become aware of a client with symptoms, that client should be isolated from others and arrangements made for COVID-19 testing.
Where a client has not been vaccinated only essential services should be performed in the home wearing appropriate PPE.
Day activity programs are permitted to operate
In arranging activities, day program providers should maintain COVID-19 safe practices including:
Staff and participants should not attend if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19.
Managers in aged care home services should refer to Appendix 2 of the Residential Aged Care Facility ARI Guidance; and managers in disability home care services should refer to Appendix 2 of the Disability Care Facility ARI Guidance for further information on when staff can be permitted to work.
Where participants are not fully vaccinated, providers are encouraged to continue to also consider providing flexible options including online service delivery, individual activities and consider the appropriateness of larger group interactions given the higher risk of severe illness in older people.