Jul 22, 2020

PPE prioritised for aged care workers

The Australian Government is prioritising Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) distribution from the National Medical Stockpile to aged care services that are most in need.

To ensure PPE from the National Medical Stockpile is effectively prioritised on a needs-basis, providers are being asked to complete a new Aged Care PPE Request Form. This form will be sent to you via email after an initial inquiry is made via the agedcarecovidppe@health.gov.au email address.

Providers will be asked a number of questions relating to their PPE needs, including staff numbers (or home client visits per day), number of care recipients, PPE supplies on hands, and PPE requirements. It is recommended someone with an appropriate level of operational knowledge complete the form.

If you have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, a case manager will work with you on your PPE requirements.

At this stage, generally only masks are being distributed to residential and in home aged care services who are in a priority category.

A priority category is a residential or in home aged care service who:

  • cannot access PPE through their usual means, and
  • the Australian Government or State or Territory Government requires workers to wear masks in relation to a community transmission region, or
  • they deliver personal care or other activities that require close physical contact, where:
  • there is an outbreak or suspected case of COVID-19 or another notifiable infectious respiratory disease, or
  • there is an immediate threat to the continuity of safe quality care due to a lack of access to PPE supplies.

Providers should also continue to try to source the PPE through suppliers while awaiting a response. Providers need to establish an ongoing general PPE supply.

In the absence of a vaccine for COVID-19, preventing exposure is the single most important step that any of us can take to protect ourselves and others from contracting this virus.

Providers should be undertaking routine screening of staff and visitors on entry irrespective of size or location. It is especially important for residential services located in communities (and/or drawing their staff from communities) where there is a local cluster of people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, or which are considered to be at higher risk of an outbreak.

Entry screening advice for residential aged care facilities can be found here.

This information was provided by the Department of Health.

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