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Covid-19 Update & Visitor Restrictions

Reviewed at 13/12/2021

The health and safety of our residents and staff is our top priority. We work closely with the Australian Government and follow their advice and comprehensive steps regarding COVID-19 to protect our residents.

The Queensland Health Aged Care Directions can be found on the Queensland Government website.

As per the government’s guidance, our Aged Care residents can leave for any reason, and we can welcome visitors.

From 17 December 2021, visitors aged 16 years and over must be fully vaccinated to attend any Aged Care Residence. Children under 16 and those with medical exemption do not need to be vaccinated.

From 1am Saturday 18 December all visitors must wear a face mask in our Aged Care Residences.

Please also be aware that the list of COVID-19 hotspots and Interstate Areas of Concern are regularly updated by Queensland Health. Please check these before you plan any visits to our Aged Care Residences.

Residential Aged Care Direction No. 11 – Effective Monday 13th December 2021

  • From 13 December 2021, fully vaccinated arrivals from hotspots can visit vulnerable facilities
  • From 17 December 2021, only fully vaccinated persons can visit vulnerable facilities for any reason. Unvaccinated persons can visit for limited reasons such as end of life, parent or guardian, legal advocacy or approved exemptions.
  • Emergency entry for an unvaccinated person has been expanded to include emergency, legislative regulatory or compliance functions, official union duties
  • Persons undertaking work in area that is not co-located (e.g. a separate construction site) are not required to be vaccinated
  • Critical workforce shortage is only for 3 months from 17 December as all industries have had a mandatory vaccination requirement that had to be complied with by 31 October 2021
  • A person will be taken to be fully vaccinated if they have a recognised medical contraindication, that is registered on the Australian Immunisation Register, or are a COVID-19 vaccine trial participant

Click here to read the full details for the Residential Aged Care Direction (No 11) from Queensland Health

Click here to view the Public Health and Social Measures Linked to Vaccination Status Direction from Queensland Health

Overview

For residential aged care facilities located across Queensland, the following measures apply:

Visitors, staff, students or volunteers at a residential aged care facility should not be anyone who:

  • is unwell
  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19 unless the person is no longer subject to a direction to self isolate
  • has returned from overseas in the last 14 days (excluding safe travel zone countries) unless an exemption has been granted
  • is in home quarantine, unless an exemption has been granted
  • has had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • has visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter)
  • has visited an interstate exposure venue in the last 14 days unless an exemption has been granted for an end of life visit
  • has been in an interstate area of concern in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter), unless you fit into one of the categories of people who are allowed to enter a facility with a negative COVID-19 PCR test
  • has had a COVID-19 PCR test and is waiting for the result (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • has COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue
  • Has been informed that you are a close contact or a secondary contact of a diagnosed person, unless your quarantine period has ended

You may enter a residential aged care facility if you do not fit into any of the above categories.

Visitors should:

  • wash their hands before entering and leaving the facility
  • stay 1.5 metres away from others where possible
  • stay in the resident’s room, outside or in a specific area (avoiding communal spaces)
  • stay away when unwell
  • follow requests from the facility to help keep staff and residents safe.

Legal practitioners

You may enter a residential aged care facility, including a restricted residential aged care facility if you are a fully vaccinated legal practitioner, even if you have been in a restricted area, if you are entering to complete essential legal work that must be done face to face.

A legal practitioner is an Australian lawyer who holds a current local practising certificate or a current interstate practising certificate.

This exception does not apply to all legal work, but only tasks that need in-person face to face contact, such as the execution of a will where it is necessary to witness the signing of the document.

Residential aged care facility workers

All residential aged care facility workers must have had the completed course of a COVID-19 vaccine before they can enter a Residential Aged Care Residence.

Health service employees working in Queensland Health residential aged care facilities must be fully vaccinated.

Students

From 11 November 2021, a student cannot enter a Residential Aged Care Residence for placement, unless they are fully vaccinated.

Visitor Access Times
Monday to Friday
9am to 4.30pm
Weekends and Public Holidays
9.30am to 11am
2pm to 3.30pm

With the lifting of these restrictions this means that a resident can leave the residential aged care home for any reason. Though must comply with general wider community COVID-19 restrictions.

Also announced was the tightening of border controls and all of New South Wales, except for people residing in the boarder zone will be declared a COVID-19 Hotspot from 1am tomorrow. This is in addition to the current hotspot declarations for Victoria and South Australia. Anyone who has been in a hotspot is not permitted to enter an aged care facility in Queensland.

Find more information about the boarder zone here.

The Chief Health Officer has asked that people in South East Queensland continue to wear masks for a further seven days.

We are currently waiting for clarification from Queensland Health on whether surgical face mask wearing for staff and visitors will continue to be a requirement for entry into residential aged care for the next seven days. Please be advised if this is a requirement then staff will advise you at the time of entry and TriCare will provide surgical face masks to people 12 years and over who are visiting.

For the latest Residential Aged Care Direction please go to https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-healthdirections-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/aged-care

TriCare has comprehensive infection prevention and outbreak management processes in place, which include comprehensive staff training, dedicated Infection Prevention and Control Leads, encouragement and promotion of staff Covid-19 vaccination, outbreak management plans and sufficient cleaning and PPE stock available.

This situation remains dynamic with government-initiated changes, for these reasons we may need to revoke and change advice to ensure we maintain compliance to government directions. We kindly ask for your patience and understanding at this time and will continue to keep you informed of any change received in relation to this matter as soon as practicable. Once again, we sincerely appreciate the challenge these times are for you and thank you for your ongoing support in helping us to maintain resident safety.

Additional Measures by TriCare

  • The following measures have been implemented further to reduce the potential spread of the virus include but are not limited to:
  • Restricting entry points at the Aged Care facilities and placing hand sanitiser at these entry points.
  • Communicated our strict entry protocols to contractors, allied health professionals and medical colleagues who attend the site.
  • Additional training for staff on effective infection control practices and management of viruses.
  • Established emergency response protocols if an outbreak occurs.
  • We have restricted staff travel between our Retirement Villages and Aged Care Facilities to essential services only.
  • A communication strategy to keep families and staff updated in the event on an outbreak.
  • Regular communication with suppliers to continue supplies of essential goods.
  • Purchased additional stock of some key products in the event of an outbreak.
  • Reinforcing the importance of social distancing for staff and residents during all episodes of the necessary contact; and
  • Heightened awareness for hand hygiene using soap and water as preferred option or hand sanitiser in the event of no soap and water.

Phone and Video Calls

TriCare strongly encourages friends and family members to keep in close contact with their loved ones via telephone and preferably video calls, such as Skype and Facetime when possible.

 For further information, please visit the below websites:

Aged Care Residents and their Families – https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources#for-aged-care-residents-and-families

Residential and Aged Care Workers – https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-health-care-and-residential-care-workers

Department of Health – https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Smart Traveller) –  https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

We continue to working closely with the Queensland Department of Health and the Federal Government and are adhering to the advice of the Chief Medical Officer for the Australian Government in the monitoring and preparedness for COVID-19.

We are educating and keeping our residents, visitors, family members and staff updated about the seriousness of infection control and outbreak management.

We thank everyone for supporting the measures we are taking during this challenging period. The health and wellbeing of our Residents, Staff and Visitors remain our primary focus.

TriCare