Keeping up with the Ever-Changing Australian Aged Care Restrictions
Advice, Aged Care

Keeping up with the Ever-Changing Australian Aged Care Restrictions

The evolving nature of COVID-19 has created a particularly devastating impact on elderly Australians and those living in residential aged care. Even at this point, the uncertainties associated with the pandemic have caused Australian aged care restrictions to evolve.

The residential aged care sector has been at the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 in Australia. As an aged care provider, you must stay informed of key sector developments and be proactive. This ensures you are equipped to respond swiftly to evolving situations and new Australian aged care restrictions.

With aged care restrictions being updated all the time, it is without a doubt hard to stay abreast of these changes on top of your already stressful workload. In this article, we will guide you through the latest restrictions and how to effectively keep pace with them in a multitude of ways.

Current Australian aged care restrictions

With the ‘third wave’ of the Delta variant of COVID-19 currently sweeping the nation, many states and territories are once again tightening the restrictions placed on aged care facilities. As of 26 July 2021, all states and territories had in place new directions for aged care providers.

All states and territories currently prohibit persons from entering or remaining on the premises of aged care facilities when they:

  • have a temperature equal to or higher than 37.5 degrees (38 degrees in South Australia) or symptoms of acute respiratory infection;
  • have returned from overseas in the past 14 days;
  • have been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
  • are unwell, including with a fever or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath), and;
  • need isolation or quarantine (unless directed by and managed per the direction of the local public health unit).
australian aged care restrictions
Across Australia, aged care facilities have some restrictions to follow, with each state and territory having its own additional specifications.

New South Wales

Other restrictions specific to New South Wales are outlined below. Aged care facilities in New South Wales prohibits entry of persons who:

  • have been to South Australia or Victoria in the last 14 days;
  • have visited any exposure venues in any states/territories in the last 14 days;
  • live or have been to Greater Sydney in the last 14 days (unless providing essential caring functions or end of life visits);
  • live in a household with a person who is currently self-isolating, and;
  • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

Queensland

Aged care facilities in Queensland restrict visitors who:

  • have been in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria in the last 14 days;
  • have visited any exposure venues in any states/territories in the last 14 days;
  • been in an interstate area of concern (vulnerable facilities) in the last 14 days or since the identified start date (whichever is shorter), and;
  • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

South Australia

For aged care facilities in South Australia, they do not allow visitors who:

  • have been in Western Australia or Northern Territory after 11 July 2021, 12AM
  • been in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Greater Brisbane, or Townsville (including Magnetic Island) in the last 14 days
  • have visited any exposure venues in South Australia in the last 14 days
  • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result

Western Australia

Meanwhile, aged care facilities in Western Australia also do not allow visitors who:

  • have been in South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales in the last 14 days, and;
  • have visited any exposure venues in any states/territories in the last 14 days.

Australian Capital Territory

In the ACT, aged care facilities further prohibits visitors who:

  • have been in South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales in the last 14 days, and;
  • have visited any exposure venues in any states/territories in the last 14 days.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory also restricts visitors to its aged care facilities who:

  • have been to South Australia or New South Wales in the last 14 days;
  • have visited any exposure venues in all other states/territories in the last 14 days, and;
  • are waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

Tasmania

Aged care facilities in Tasmania also reject visitors who have been to any high-risk areas in New South Wales, South Australia, or Victoria in the last 14 days.

Victoria

For aged care facilities in Australia, they are also required to restrict visitors who are waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

Keeping up with Australian aged care restrictions

Even with the knowledge of the current restrictions for each state, with the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 in recent days means these regulations are subject to change at any moment.

It is indeed difficult to comb through countless press releases and government documents to find the most updated information. However, fret not as we will be giving you three tips below on keeping up with the ever-changing Australian aged care restrictions.

Have a compliance team

A compliance team will greatly help with the workload of keeping up with the evolving Australian aged care restrictions. But first, what is a compliance team?

A compliance team is a group of dedicated individuals whose role is to research the necessary restrictions on a daily basis, and update company protocol for visitors to your aged care facility. This role entails constant surveillance on all news sites, government sites, and reading through all press releases and COVID-19 restriction rules to gather information.

The compliance team ensures your establishment is complying with all government regulations. By engaging or delegating your staff to form a compliance team bring many benefits, such as having a detailed risk assessment protocol to refer to. Other benefits include increased accuracy and efficiency by having a team. Team members can work together to check back on each other’s work, while also speeding up the process.

This investment into a dedicated compliance team will save you money in the long-run. It will protect you against fines issued by the government due to erroneous application of COVID-19 visitation rules.

Subscribe to government or ageing organisations’ newsletters

Another simple way to keep up with the ever-changing Australian aged care restrictions are to consider subscribing to some government or ageing organisations’ newsletters. Ageing organisations such as Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and Inside Ageing regularly send out newsletters to subscribers.

These newsletters contain key information and updates on the government’s stance on COVID-19 visitation; as well as other news in the aged care industry. They distribute and break down difficult sounding professional jargon into simple digestible pieces of information, for those in a rush.

If you or your team has time to spare, you might consider this method of staying updated. By subscribing to these newsletters, you can ensure you are consistently well-informed of any changes in the industry, especially visitation restrictions in order to prepare for them.

australian aged care restrictions
Subscribing to government or aged care newsletters can help you stay informed on the latest happenings in this industry; including all relevant aged care restrictions.

Automate the process

Finally, the most accurate method to keep up with the ever-changing Australian aged care restrictions is to automate the entire process.

Automating the entire process will reduce the reliance on manpower on your end and ensure your employees can focus on performing their job to the best of their abilities. Automating the entire process involves an investment into visitor management technology.

Investing in visitor management technology can be a lifeline for your aged care facility. It not only acts as a compliance team, it also manages the foot traffic in and out of your establishment. This means you can say bye to never-ending stacks of paper to record each visitor. Your receptionist will also no longer be swamped with the manual work of signing-in each and every visitor.

An advanced visitor management system ensures all your guests are fully signed-in and cleared for entry, while also maintaining these records on the cloud— extremely convenient. This visitor management system will also take on the responsibility of ensuring compliance and constantly updating visitor entry protocols in accordance to government guidelines.

There will not only be increased visitor and staff satisfaction, but your operations will be run more smoothly as well. By automating your entire sign-in process, you are ensuring you stay on top of the ever-changing Australian aged care restrictions.

In a nutshell

The developing outlook of COVID-19 has affected aged care facilities nationwide due to the changing visitation directives. With the above tips, you and your organisation will be able to keep up with these changes effectively and efficiently.

By responding to these ever-changing restrictions with speed and accuracy, you are setting your establishment up for success as a trusted provider.

Zipline’s expert visitor management system simplifies the process of staying compliant for you. With a dedicated compliance team and diverse functions of our sign-in software, let us help you adapt dynamically to the latest restrictions and improve your visitor experience.

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