Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information for carers

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information for carers

 

Carers NSW is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation, the ongoing government response and the wide ranging impacts it has on carers. We are also collating feedback from carers on the issues they are facing during this challenging time. This information will help us in adjusting our service delivery and advocating for carers’ needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Carers and service providers are invited to raise issues for carers and suggest solutions by completing our online Policy Advice Form survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/policy_advice_form or emailing Carers NSW on contact@carersnsw.org.au. We are also planning consultations with key stakeholder groups by videoconference in the coming weeks.

We will provide regular updates on our website, social media and monthly eNews about relevant information and resources for carers. If you need individual information or support, please phone Carers NSW on 02 9280 4744 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or call Lifeline at any time on 13 11 14 for 24-hour emotional and crisis support.

General information

Following the latest advice from our health departments during this time is vitally important.

The Australian Government Department of Health website provides daily updates, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), the latest news, current facts and figures, travel advice and contact details. Visit www.health.gov.au for more information.

NSW Health provides the latest information and advice on the coronavirus (COVID-19) on their website at www.health.nsw.gov.au

Carers can visit these websites or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 (or the National Relay Service on 1300 555 727) for up to date advice about the present level of risk and recommended precautions.

Woolworths priority delivery hubs

Woolworths will be prioritising the delivery of groceries to the homes of ‘Priority Assistance’ customers from Thursday, 26 March 2020. Priority Assistance customers include the elderly, people with disability, those with compromised immunity and people in mandatory isolation.  Woolworths will reduce trading hours at 41 stores across the country to 11am to 6pm and these 41 ‘Priority Delivery Hubs’ will use the additional hours to pack customers online orders, with a focus on meeting the increased demand. To apply for Priority Assistance delivery, customers just need to complete the form at woolworths.com.au/priorityassistance or call 1800 000 610 to find out more.

Healthdirect COVID-19 Symptom Checker

Healthdirect Australia has developed a COVID-19 Symptom Checker, an online self-guided tool to help people find out if they need to seek medical help. The COVID-19 Symptom Checker includes questions about travel history, contact with known cases and the clinical symptoms associated with COVID-19, including fever, sore throat, cough and shortness of breath. It provides people with advice on what they should do next, such as calling ahead before a visit to a GP or emergency department. 

ReachOut online youth mental health service

ReachOut, Australia's leading online youth mental health service, is providing free support to young Australians during the COVID-19 outbreak to help them stay well when it comes to their mental health. Available 24/7 online, ReachOut's new dedicated resources give young people practical tips about looking after their wellbeing during these unprecedented times.  In addition, ReachOut's online youth forums continue to offer peer support in safe and established online communities. Young people are currently using this online space to connect and share stories about how they are feeling, share tips for staying well and support those struggling with their mental health during these unsettling times. You can visit there website at https://au.reachout.com/.

Financial support

The Australian Government has announced two one off Economic Support payments of $750 each and a temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight to new and existing income support recipients from 27 April 2020 for six months.

A one-off payment of $750 will be provided for about 6.5 million Australians including people who receive the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment and Carer Allowance as well as the Family Tax Benefit and many other welfare payments. If you receive any of these payments, you do not have to do anything. The money will be paid into your account automatically at the end of March.

The Federal Government will be releasing supplement payments to those currently receiving Jobseeker and Newstart payments. Eligibility for the JobSeeker payment will be expanded to include people whose work has been affected by COVID-19 including those who have been stood down or lost their employment, sole traders, the self-employed, casual workers and contract workers as well as someone who has to care for someone with COVID-19.

Full time students who receive Youth Allowance, Austudy and Absudy will receive the $550 per fortnight boost to their payments. People receiving payments who are ineligible for this supplement may be able to access the two one off payments totalling $1500, as opposed to the 6 month coronavirus supplement.

Some organisations, including Carers NSW, are advocating for the coronavirus supplement to be expanded to include people receiving the Carer Payment, the Disability Support Pension and Age Pension.

The Department of Social Services provides more information about the supplement and economic support payments on their website.

Specific information for carers of older people

Visiting residential aged care facilities

Current restrictions are placed on visits to residential aged care facilities. These include:

  • Visits will be limited to a short duration
  • Visits are limited to a maximum of two immediate social supports (family members, close friends) or professional service or advocacy at one time
  • Visits will be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the aged care facility, rather than communal areas where the risk of transmission to residents is greater
  • Visitors will undergo a health screening ahead of the visit
  • Visitors will be encouraged to practise social distancing, including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres.

Currently, the following people are not permitted entry to residential aged care facilities:

  • People who have returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • People who have been in contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days
  • People with fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath
  • People who have not been vaccinated against influenza (after May 1 2020)
  • Children aged 16 years and under (exemptions can be assessed on a case-by-case basis, for example, where the resident is in palliative care)

Information for families and residents regarding aged care facility visitation is available here.

The restrictions may change at any time or depending on the facility, so it may be best to call in advance and check their visiting arrangements.

Information for people living with dementia

Dementia Australia released help sheets for people living with dementia, their carers and families, residential care providers and home care providers. These outline the impacts coronavirus may have on a person living with dementia, tips to reduce heightened anxiety, tips on engagement while in isolation and information on symptoms and hygiene.

Coronavirus COVID-19 - Tips for Carers, Families and Friends of People Living with Dementia

Coronavirus COVID-19 - Tips for residential care providers

Coronavirus COVID-19 - Tips for home care providers

Coronavirus COVID-19 - Tips for People Living with Dementia

Aged care sector funding

This week the National Cabinet agreed on temporary funding to support Aged Care providers, residents, staff and families.

Building on the package of measures announced last week, The Australian Government announced funding of $444.6 million for the aged care sector to ensure continuity of the aged care workforce. The funding will be used to provide:

  • $234.9 million for a COVID-19 ‘retention bonus’ to ensure the continuity of the workforce for staff 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 (including increased viability payments for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program providers and Multi-Purpose Services).
  • $92.2 million in additional support to home care providers and organisations which deliver the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, including for services such as meals on wheels.
  • $12.3 million to support the My Aged Care call centre to respond to the needs of older Australia.

More information is available on the Australian Department of Health website.

Specific information for carers of people with disability

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

As of this week all National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) offices will be closed to the public with services to continue being provided by phone, email and webchat. Telephone meetings are being offered to all current and potential NDIS participants as a safer way to continue service delivery, including for new plans and plan reviews, during the current phase of the COVID 19 outbreak. 

The NDIS plans to be extended by up to 24 months, ensuring continuity of support and increasing capacity to focus on urgent and required changes to plans and ensure NDIS participants and their families continue to receive the essential disability supports they need. For more information please view the NDIS website

People with Disability COVID-19 Hub

People with Disability Australia have developed a COVID-19 hub with information and resources to support the needs and rights of people with disability at all levels throughout the pandemic.

 

News:

Accessibility:

High Contrast Switch

Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.