Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information for carers

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information for carers

 

Carers NSW is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the ongoing government response and the wide ranging impacts it has on carers. Below is our latest COVID-19 information and resources for carers.

General information

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

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice have information for seniors, people with disability and carers on their website.

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.

Latest information from Friday 5 June 2020

From Saturday 13 June, the following sports and recreational activities will be allowed, with the 4 square metre rule applied at all times:

  • Fitness, gyms, pilates, yoga and dance studios can reopen with up to 10 people per class and 100 people in an indoor venue.
  •  Community centres, including their recreational facilities can reopen.
  • Some indoor recreational facilities including pools and saunas can reopen with restricted numbers.
  • Tattoo and massage parlours can reopen with up to 10 clients.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released their latest Household impacts of COVID-19 Survey results, including “Caring and Assistance Provided to Vulnerable People outside the Household”. The survey asked respondents if, since 1 March 2020, they had provided care or assistance to a vulnerable person living outside their household (that is, a person aged 65 years or over, or a person aged under 65 years with a disability or long-term health condition), due to COVID-19.

The report found, since 1 March, 2020:

  • One in eight Australian adults (13 percent) had provided unpaid care to a vulnerable person living outside their household because of COVID-19.
  • Family members were the most commonly reported recipients of care (80 percent) for people providing care to others outside their household due to COVID-19.
  • Common types of assistance provided to vulnerable people living outside the household were shopping (80 percent) and provision of meals (49 percent).
  • Around three in five people provided this care on at least a weekly basis (28 percent provided care multiple times a week and 33 percent provided care once or twice a week).
  • More than half (58 percent) did not expect this care to cease until after COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Migration Council Australia has developed a multilingual mobile app for Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities about COVID-19, its impact and available support.

Employment

Mutual obligation (MO) requirements for job seekers which are the requirements JobSeeker recipients must do to keep getting their payment and have a better chance of finding work - will re-commence, in a limited capacity, from Tuesday 9 June 2020.

Project Displaced has been launched to support all displaced workers during COVID-19 across Australia and New Zealand. The organisation is a not for profit and is run by volunteers, providing jobseekers with free resume advice, free career planning and free job-application preparation from qualified coaches.

Specific information for carers of older people

The Department of Health has clarified that no Commonwealth Home Support (CHSP) programme service types should be cancelled or reduced by providers on the grounds of being non-essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. While there may be a reduction in demand for some services by clients during this time, all CHSP providers are expected to continue offering and delivering services safely and in accordance with state and territory social distancing and infection control requirements. CHSP service providers may now re-open their Social Support Group and other in-person group activities where they can be delivered safely in a manner consistent with state and territory restrictions.

On Friday 1 May 2020, the Department of Health advised Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers that they may use unspent funds in 2019-20 to purchase personal monitoring technology for their vulnerable clients, up to the value of $1,000 per client in need of support during COVID-19, particularly for those older Australians and their carers and families who are self-isolating to protect themselves from exposure to COVID-19. Older Australian with Home Care Packages will also be able to use their packages to access monitoring services. Such personal monitoring systems includes automated technology, which, through the push of a button sends an alert to a monitoring centre or family member in the event of an emergency, such as a fall or health crisis.

National Seniors Australia says hundreds of thousands of older Australians now qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) and probably don’t realise it. They would also qualify for a $750 stimulus payment if they are an eligible CSHC holder on July 10, because of the recent cuts to the deeming rates. Lower deeming rates mean more retirees fall below the income test threshold for the card.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card provides a range of concessions, including up to $1,180 a year savings via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, due to a lower Medicare safety net. It also offers retirees access to some state and territory concessions and potential bulk billing options.

To be eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card seniors must:

  • Be of pension age
  • Meet income test ($55,808 for singles; $89,290 for couples; $111,616 for couples who are separated by illness, respite care or prison)
  • Not be receiving payment from Veteran Affairs
  • Be an Australian resident

A new resource, has been published on the Department of Health’s website offering guidance on how to stay COVID-19 free.

The wellbeing check service carried out by the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is expanding to now support all home care and Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) recipients who may need some extra social and emotional support, not just those who have paused their services. This service is reliant on the referral of individuals and can be made by service providers, loved ones, carers and community members worried about an older Australian. Home care, CHSP providers and others who wish to refer an older Australian to the service, with their consent and knowledge, can do so via contacting OPAN on 1800 237 981 or email covid@opan.com.au

NSW Meals on Wheels has published a new toolkit on emergency preparedness for vulnerable older people. The toolkit has been developed as a partnership between key emergency and Meals on Wheels services. It helps home support providers to empower older people to make decisions about preparing for emergencies, supporting discussions about what they can do to prepare and providing concise practical information, including explanatory videos.

Myra Hamilton from the University of Sydney has published an article on the impacts of COVID-19 on carers. The co-authored article was on ‘dying alone’ and how this issue has been heightened during COVID-19. It links in with issues Carers NSW has been advocating on - visitor restrictions in hospitals and aged care facilities. The article also outlines how 40 per cent of aged care residents have no visitors, even in normal circumstances. So, even outside of the current pandemic, many older people face the end of life without the sense of social, relational and cultural connectedness that many of us would hope for and expect.

Specific information for carers of people with disability

Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) has released a report on a survey of children, young people and their families regarding the impacts of COVID-19. The key findings revealed that 82 per cent of people surveyed felt that there was a general lack of information targeted to young people and children with a disability and their families, exacerbating their stress and uncertainty. Additionally, school closures meant concern was raised about the loss of progress made while at school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information on the CYDA report is available here.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) released new resources to support health service organisations to provide safe care for people with cognitive impairment during COVID-19.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released new information packs for participants, their families and carers managing service changes due to COVID-19:

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.

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. This information will help us in adjusting our service delivery and advocating for carers’ needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

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