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Information for Residential Care Facilities

COVID-19


How do I apply for an exemption in exceptional circumstances?

All requests for exemptions relating to exceptional circumstances must be writing to the Department for Health and wellbeing via officeforageingwell@sa.gov.au

>Include contact details and any information relevant t the request, including the urgency of the situation.

>Requests will be assessed by a prescribed authorised officer as soon as practicable and the requestor will be advised of the outcome.

Influenza Vaccinations

Under the Direction, from 1 May 2020, all staff and visitors to a residential aged care facility must be vaccinated against 2020 seasonal influenza.

Does everyone entering a residential aged care facility need to be vaccinated? Yes. This applies to staff, visitors, health practitioners, volunteers and others (for example, cleaners, tradesman, gardeners, hairdressers, maintenance staff).

Exemptions include:

A person who has a medical contraindication to the influenza vaccine (such as person who has a history of anaphylaxis or has had Guillain-Barré Syndrome following vaccination, or who is taking check point inhibitor medication for cancer treatment).

o The visitor should provide appropriate evidence to the residential aged care facility they wish to visit, for example, a letter from a medical practitioner stating that they have a medical contraindication to the influenza vaccine.

 In the event of an emergency, emergency services personnel are permitted to enter a residential aged care facility regardless of immunisation status.

 Visitors who have been called in to provide end of life support to a resident who have not yet received their flu vaccination, but they must take all reasonable steps to get vaccinated as soon as practicable after their initial visit.

 If an employee or contractor of a residential aged care facility is not able to access an adequate supply of the influenza vaccine, they may enter the premises provided that the operator of the residential aged care facility:

o Notifies the Department for Health and Wellbeing via officeforageingwell@sa.gov.au as soon as practicable. o Takes all reasonable steps to access an adequate supply as soon as practicable.

What happens if staff do not wish to be vaccinated due to cultural, religious or other reasons? Residential aged care providers will need to take all reasonable steps to ensure staff who have not had the 2020 seasonal influenza vaccination, and do not have a medical contraindication to the vaccine, do not enter or remain on the premises.

Do residential aged care providers still need to provide free influenza vaccinations to staff and volunteers?

Yes. Under the Aged Care Quality Standards, residential aged care providers must offer free flu vaccinations every year to staff and volunteers, and keep records of their vaccinations.

COVID-19 Information for Residential Aged Care Facilities

How will aged care providers know whether visitors have been vaccinated?

Aged care providers should seek appropriate evidence of immunisation status from individuals seeking to enter the facility.

 Appropriate evidence may include a statement or record from a health practitioner, or an immunisation history statement available from Medicare online or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

 Providers may also consider maintaining records to support effective administration and to substantiate their compliance with this requirement.

What if a visitor attends the premises of a residential aged care facility but remains outside and undertakes a visit with a resident through a closed window? The Chief Public Health Officer and Deputy Chief Public Health Officers have considered this issue and have granted an exemption under clause 5 to allow unvaccinated persons to enter and remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility for the purposes of visiting a resident in the following circumstances:

 The visitor must remain on the outdoor side of the closed window, with the resident to remain indoors.

 Social distancing must be maintained at all times and there must be no contact with other visitors or staff on the premises.

Will residents still have the right to refuse vaccination? While vaccination for all residents is important to protect themselves and others against influenza, residents have the right to refuse vaccinations.

For more information:

Office for ageing Well

Department for health and Wellbeing

SA Health, Government of south Australia

www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019

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