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Coronavirus support for aged care

The Australian Government has allocated an additional $445 million on top of the $101.2 million announced a week earlier for aged care as part of a $2.8 billion health package to protect Australians from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Senator Richard Colbeck said the $445 million package was intended to strengthen the industry, particularly to reinforce the aged care workforce. It includes:

  • $234.9 million for a COVID-19 ‘retention bonus’ to ensure the continuity of the workforce for aged care workers in both residential and home care.
  • $78.3 million in additional funding for residential care to support continuity of workforce supply.
  • $26.9 million to increase the Residential and Home Care Viability Supplements and the Homeless Supplement.
  • $92.2 million for home care providers and organisations such as Meals on Wheels.
  • $12.3 million to support the My Aged Care Service to meet the surge in aged care specific COVID-19 inquiries.

The previously announced $101.2 million in aged care funding is to: educate and train aged care workers in infection control, and enable aged care providers to hire extra nurses and aged care workers for residential and home care; make available additional aged care staff for deployment to facilities as needed, where an urgent health response is required and to provide extra support for staff and training; and provide additional funding for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to work with providers on improving infection control. Details: http://bit.ly/38M5K7U.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the total health package provides unprecedented support across primary care, aged care, hospitals, research and the national medical stockpile.

Meantime, The Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) has released national guidelines for the prevention, control and management of COVID-19 outbreaks in residential aged care facilities, and these are available on the Department of Health website at: bit.ly/2IKUiPf

Aged care education provider Altura Learning has also released a new resource, COVID-19 and Aged Care, to help providers and staff understand and respond to the coronavirus. It’s freely available at www.alturalearning.com/

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