Home | COVID-19 | “No excuse” – safety commission announces targeted monitoring for Covid-19

“No excuse” – safety commission announces targeted monitoring for Covid-19

The Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) has announced new measures for ensuring all residential aged care facilities are meeting the standard for Covid-19 prevention and management.

The Commission has warned that they will be targeting facilities with low vaccination rates through unannounced visits and written reminders.

ACQSC Commissioner Janet Anderson reiterated that providers have an ongoing obligation under the Aged Care Act and Aged Care Quality Standards to protect residents from the risk of Covid-19.

“Supporting residents to understand the benefits of vaccination and to get vaccinated is a responsibility of residential aged care providers, working with local general practitioners, community pharmacists, and the local Primary Health Network,” the Commissioner said.

“We are concerned about the proportion of aged care residents who are not up to date with their Covid-19 vaccinations. Timely access to vaccination should be part of routine clinical care for every older person.”

Older people are more susceptible to becoming seriously ill due to Covid-19 infection and, in line with the ACQSC's latest Covid-19 Regulatory Bulletin, care providers must facilitate access to vaccinations as soon as residents become eligible. It is recommended that people aged between 65 and 74 receive a Covid-19 booster every year, and for those aged 75 and every six months.

The Commission expects that care providers will also provide timely access to oral Covid-19 treatments (antivirals) for those who become infected as part of routine clinical care. Antiviral medications are available for all people 70 years of age or older, "regardless of risk factors and with or without symptoms."

“Where we find that a provider lacks interest and/or capability to take the necessary action, and their ongoing inattention to this vital preventative measure is placing residents in harm’s way, there will be regulatory consequences,” the Commissioner said.

“I urge anyone living in aged care, their family and friends to carefully consider getting vaccinated against Covid-19 and keeping boosters up to date to aid protection against both infection and severe disease. It is also really important for aged care workers to get vaccinated to protect themselves and the older people they care for."

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