As of 28 August 2021

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Visiting an RACF

Service NSW QR codes

Under the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 all staff (including contractors but excluding people entering the premises in response to an emergency) and visitors to residential aged care facilities will need to check-in using the Service NSW QR code app.

In addition RACFs must continue to screen people entering the facility following the Chief Health Officer advice.

Facilities using a commercial app that combines check-in and screening can continue to use the commercial app for screening. However, an additional check-in must be done with the Service NSW QR app. 

Facilities can find information on setting up a Service NSW QR code here. The Service NSW Business Concierge team can be contacted on 13 77 88 for additional assistance.

Mandatory mask wearing

  • Under the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 masks must be worn in NSW while in all an indoor areas (other than a person's home). 
  • A staff member or visitor may remove their mask:
      • while communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing
      • if wearing a mask creates a risk to health and safety
      • where clear enunciation or visibility of your mouth is essential
      • when the removal of a face mask is necessary for the provision of a good or service.
  • Anyone removing a mask for one of these reasons should maintain 1.5m distance from others wherever possible.

Residents attending family gatherings or excursions

For residents leaving the facility for an individual outing, family gathering or group excursion, ensure that:

  • residents are guided about COVID-safe behaviours, including practicing physical distancing (1.5m) and hand hygiene,
  • the event complies with the current  Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021
  • no one at the event:
    • has been a close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days
    • lives in a household with a person who is currently self-isolating
    • is waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

Accepting new permanent or respite residents, and returning residents discharged from hospital

  • Residential aged care facilities should undertake their own screening and risk assessment of new and returning residents for COVID-19. Depending on the risk assessment, facilities may implement additional infection prevention and control measures on admission.
  • Admission of new residents from the community, either permanent or respite, can be accepted if the person has not been to any areas where testing or monitoring of symptoms is advised, has had no contact with anyone with confirmed, suspected or probable COVID-19, is not awaiting a COVID-19 test result, and does not have any symptoms of COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is not mandatory for new or returning residents unless they have symptoms.
  • When a resident has been admitted to hospital and is ready for discharge back to the residential aged care facility, the hospital treating team will medically screen and risk assess the resident for COVID-19 prior to discharge. The receiving facility should undertake their own screening process when the resident is returned. Local Health District aged care outreach teams / specialised staff should be engaged as early as possible to assist with discharge planning if required.

Additional COVID-19 measures for staff and facilities

  • Minimise staff working across different care facilities. Where ceasing staff movement across facilities is not practical, additional measures should be put in place, such as maintaining records of staff and work locations.
  • Keep your outbreak preparedness plan up to date. Include provisions in your plan to ensure that your facility:
    • has sufficient stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) held on site. This should include PPE for business-as-usual service delivery as well as to respond quickly to elevated risk from a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case
    • has a designated infection control lead
    • staff have regular infection control training.
  • Refer to the Residential Aged Care Facility outbreak management resources for advice on supporting residential aged care facilities as they manage an outbreak.

Staff with vaccination contraindications

  • In very rare circumstances staff will have a contraindication to a COVID-19 vaccination. Advice for staff and facilities in these occasions is
    • If possible, deploy the staff to lower risk environments
    • During an outbreak do not allow the staff member to attend the facility
    • The recommended level of Personal Protective Equipment will be applied equally regardless of vaccination status
    • Additional testing can be considered

Additional resources

Visit Advice to residential aged care facilities.


Current as at: Friday 22 October 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW