Aged Care - COVID-19

COVID-19 Infection control training
All employees or contractors who provide personal care or nursing care to residents must complete Understanding COVID-19 for Aged Care Workers by 1 October 2020. Refresher training must be completed every two months.

COVID-19 Infection Control Plans
All RACF must submit a COVID-19 Infection Control Plan for all communal areas at the facility to the Department for Health and Wellbeing for approval.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the State Coordinator has made a Direction under the Emergency Management Act 2004 to limit entry into residential aged care facilities in South Australia.

The Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 10) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 (PDF 408KB) has been revoked and replaced by the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 11) (COVID-19) Direction 2020.

This new Direction came into effect on 24 October 2020 at 00:01 am. It will remain in place until it is updated or removed.

COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities

The COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities (PDF 1MB) is available as a resource document to guide individual Residential Aged Care Facilities in the prevention, preparation, management and recovery stages of responding to COVID-19 situations in South Australia.

Aged Care Workforce

From 27 August 2020, operators of Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) need to implement a number of changes to the way that employees and contractors at their facilities work.

  • Restrictions on working across multiple RACF - All workers providing direct personal care to residents in an RACF (personal care workers) are only permitted to undertake this type of work at one RACF. If a personal care worker intends to work in that type of role at a different RACF, there must be 14 days between work shifts at the first and second RACF. Personal care workers can have other employment, including providing in-home care or other roles, but cannot provide direct personal care to residents in two (or more) RACF. At present, these restrictions do not apply to other types of employees or contractors in a RACF.
  • PPE requirements - A person who provides nursing, medical, allied health or personal care services to residents must wear appropriate PPE (masks) whenever a distance of 1.5m between themselves and the resident cannot be maintained. Relatives are not required to wear masks when visiting a loved one and providing care during their visit. For more information, see Infection Prevention and Control Residential Aged Care Facilities – PPE (PDF 217KB)
  • PPE Training - Training staff in the correct use of PPE minimises the potential of COVID-19 transmission within residential aged care facilities amongst workers and residents. The SA Health Training Tool for the Correct Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Residential Aged Care Facilities (PDF 232KB) provides information about training staff in the use of PPE and resources for residential aged care staff. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Education and Training PowerPoint (PDF 1MB) can also be used for education and training purposes. The training tool provides a standardised approach to training and competency assessment in the safe use of PPE.
    The following video can be used as an additional resource for staff training: COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Education and Training for Residential Aged Care Facilities.

Aged care facility visitation

The Direction protects residents, staff and others from the risk of transmission of COVID-19, while supporting the rights and wellbeing of residents and their families.

  • Residents can leave an aged care facility and return for any reason.
  • Residents of facilities will need to be isolated following a COVID-19 test until the result of their test is known.
  • Children under the age of 16 years are able to visit, provided that they have had their flu vaccination (babies under 6 months are exempt from the flu vaccination requirement).
  • Care and support visits are limited to one visit per day by up to two people, however, aged care facilities are now able to approve additional visits where this is appropriate or necessary.
  • Visitors coming from the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales or New Zealand are permitted to visit aged care facilities upon arrival in South Australia. Visitors coming from Victoria are only permitted to visit within 14 days if they are providing end of life support to a resident (and are required to wear PPE and self-quarantine at all other times).

You cannot enter a facility if:

  • You have undertaken a COVID-19 test and are awaiting the test results, unless this was a routine COVID-19 test required to be undertaken due to cross border travel;
  • You have arrived from or have been in VIC within the last 14 days;
  • You have been a known contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19;
  • You have a temperature higher than 38 degrees Celsius, fever, chills or symptoms of acute respiratory infection in the preceding 72 hours; and/or
  • You have not been vaccinated against 2020 seasonal influenza (unless you have an approved medical reason or a child aged 6 months or less).

Visit the Residential aged care facilities page on the South Australian Government website for more information and to view the Direction.

Requesting an exemption in exceptional circumstances

SA Health authorised officers are able to provide exemptions to the Direction if they believe exceptional circumstances exist. All requests for exemptions must be made in writing to the Department for Health and Wellbeing via Requests should include contact details and any information relevant to the request, including the urgency of the situation.

Interstate travellers

All interstate travellers must complete a cross border pre-approval form at least 14 days prior to arrival into South Australia. The cross border travel application form is available from SA Police.

For more information