As of 3 June 2022
With high levels of 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. Time limitations apply. There are two exemptions related to booster vaccinations (see below).
An extension has been made to the vaccination exemption allowing a person to continue working without the third dose. The exemption has been extended from 1 June to be repealed on 29 June 2022.
The advice on this page also applies to people working within the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Household and close contacts should not attend vulnerable clients unless a specific COVID return to work plan is in place.
Staff who have not yet had 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine should have regular RAT testing (for example twice per week for a full time staff member). Staff who have had 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine do not need to have regular RAT testing.
PCR Tests should not be used for asymptomatic surveillance of staff or clients where there has been no exposure.
If a staff member has had a high-risk exposure to COVID-19, managers should refer to the
Appendix 2 of the 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.
Home care and community aged care and disability care service providers are responsible to ensure that staff must not provide services if they:
Staff who are a household or close contact must comply with the NSW Health Household and Close Contact Guideline 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 approve return to work, undertake a risk assessment and may ask the staff 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 within 7 days maybe allowed with additional risk mitigating measures. People who have recovered from COVID-19 are able to continue to work if they come in contact with COVID-19 in the 12 weeks after recovery and remain asymptomatic.
A person must not provide a home care service unless:
There are two exemptions to the
Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2022 relating to the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccination:
The exemption also allows the employer to continue to allow the person to provide work.
This does not permanently exempt the person from the requirement to have a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. A person who does not meet the conditions in the exemption must continue to comply with the direction in the
Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2022.
On very rare occasions, there may be a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination. A COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate is required in this circumstance.
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 should refer to the
Appendix 2 of the 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 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.