The Commonwealth Department of Health’s COVID-19 Guide for Home Care Providers (COVID-19 Guide) provides information and guidance on how providers can prepare their organisation, equipment and resources to manage COVID-19. The COVID-19 Guide states all providers and the people they care for should develop an emergency plan and specifies what the plan should contain. The COVID-19 guide includes other advice on actions to be taken by providers should service delivery be interrupted.
The Commonwealth has released complementary resources for assessment and home care services which provide advice on the operational impact of COVID-19 and Commonwealth expectations.
The Aged Care / Aged Health Community of Practice (COP) identified the need for a suite of tools to facilitate compliance with Commonwealth requirements and ensure service continuity is in place for this client group and that vulnerable clients are identified.
The new tools at appendices 1 to 5 have been developed to facilitate forward planning by NSW Health local health districts/St Vincent’s Health Network staff to ensure clients of Commonwealth funded aged care services are safe and receiving appropriate care and support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Use of these tools may be expanded across other community health services where service models have changed in response to COVID-19.
These tools incorporate Commonwealth advice from the COVID-19 Guide and FAQs.
The table indicates the intended use of the tools by Commonwealth funded aged care assessment services and service providers.
We recommend using Google Chrome to access each Appendix document.
The COVID-19 client and carer information sheet is for new and existing clients of all Commonwealth funded aged care services. It reassures clients, encourages them to continue with their current services and reinforces the importance of maintaining their regular health care during the pandemic. Note in the local Electronic Medical Record (eMR) that the information sheet has been provided to the client. The information sheet does not include a comprehensive list of COVID-19 symptoms. Please ensure there are printouts of the current symptoms to provide to clients together with the information sheet. The current list of symptoms is at: COVID-19 - Frequently asked questions.
The Vulnerability checklist for aged care clients supports decision-making when planning a client’s care. It acts as a prompt to identify factors which may contribute to a client’s vulnerability and will assist in prioritising development of emergency care planning for individual clients. This tool should be uploaded to the local eMR as it contains client specific information.
The COVID-19 Emergency Care Plan for existing clients is to be completed in consultation with clients, carers and/or family members and can be used to guide discussion. A copy of the completed tool is to be provided to clients/carers and uploaded to the local eMR. Before starting a new plan, staff should check whether the client already has a plan in eMR.
The Welfare check for new clients declining assessment or services during emergency situations is a screening tool to guide staff (clinical/non-clinical) making phone calls to check on the welfare of new clients who are deferring or refusing assessment or services in their home. This tool is not for use with existing clients. After the initial telephone welfare check, clients will be offered a phone follow up. When completed, this tool should be uploaded to the local eMR.
The Local services listing is a template that may help staff maintain a current list of local businesses/services that are assisting with shopping, food, pharmaceuticals, transport, and aids and equipment to isolated/vulnerable clients. This can include formal and informal supports.
Aged Care Unit, Ministry of Health.
Aged Care / Aged Health Communities of Practice.
Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning, NSW Ministry of Health.