The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has released new guidelines to support residential aged care providers to prepare for, prevent and manage a COVID-19 outbreak.

The practical guide, Outbreak management planning in aged care, aims to help providers minimise the risks and impact of potential COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities.

It has been developed for residential aged care providers to support staff, residents, family members and visitors.

The guide brings together resources from the aged care regulator, the Commonwealth Department of Health and state and territory health departments.

It includes advice for residential aged care providers on:

  • infection control
  • screening, monitoring and testing
  • isolating residents
  • personal protective equipment
  • cleaning
  • waste management
  • workforce
  • communications
  • liaising with external agencies
  • visitor access and restrictions.

It also includes information on returning to COVID-19 normal operations following an outbreak.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson said the aged care sector needed to be prepared for future COVID-19 outbreaks.

Janet Anderson

“As a sector, we have learned much from this pandemic to date and it is important that we continue to embed these learnings into our practice to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of older people receiving care, their families, staff and the broader community,” Ms Anderson said.

“The experience of providers through the challenging months of 2020 highlights how critical effective planning and preparation is – it literally makes the difference between life and death, between confidence and panic,” she said.

The aged care regulator will publish further resources over the coming months to support providers to operate safely in a COVID-normal world.

Ms Anderson will be hosting a webinar on the new guide on 10 December at 5:00pm-6:00pm AEDT.

Access the guide here.

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