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 12 June 2020

Carers NSW has been closely following the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts on carers living in NSW and the people they care for.

The following publications prepared by Carers NSW highlight key issues for carers and make recommendations for improving carer support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carers and service providers are invited to raise issues and put forward suggestions to the Carers NSW Policy Team by contacting us at policy@carersnsw.org.au or on (02) 9280 4744.

Carers NSW has developed the following practically focused COVID-19 fact sheets for carers:

More COVID-19 specific resources for other carer groups will be available soon.

The Australian Government is investing $24.2 million to reduce wait times and fast track access to mental health services for young people aged 12-25 seeking headspace appointments.

A report from the Kings Fund during Carers Week in the United Kingdom (UK) reveals an estimated 4.5 million people in the U.K have become unpaid carers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is on top of the 9.1 million unpaid carers who were already caring before the pandemic, bringing the total number to 13.6 million. 2.7 million women (59 per cent) and 1.8 million men (41 per cent) have started caring for relatives who are older, disabled, or living with a physical or mental illness. Typically, they will have been supporting loved ones from afar, helping with food shopping, collecting medicine, managing finances and providing reassurance and emotional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some will have taken on intense caring roles, helping with personal care, administering medication and preparing meals. More information on the Kings Fund report from the UK is available here.

Specific information for carers of older people

People can now register with My Aged Care and apply for their first assessment online, or on behalf of someone else, by using the apply for an assessment online form, as an alternative to calling the My Aged Care contact centre. More information can be found on the My Aged Care website. Feedback can be provided via the onsite pop-up survey or Contact Us page of the My Aged Care website. If you require urgent assistance you can still access short-term home support services, such as meals and personal care through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme in an emergency, without having an aged care assessment. You can contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 if you need support urgently.

A new fact sheet and infographic has been released - ‘It’s ok to have Home Care Infographic’. It outlines to older Australians that the home care workers visiting their home will be taking all necessary measures to ensure they stay safe, including following the advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer about when to use protective equipment. It also advises that most of the time the aged care worker does not have to wear personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, aprons or gowns, and protective eyewear, only if the older Australian has been diagnosed with or is suspected of having or displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Any aged care worker displaying symptoms of COVID-19 is not allowed to work - and workers with symptoms are being tested.

The Department of Health has advised that in accordance with the recommendations of the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee (AHPPC), all residential aged care facilities should conduct active screening for symptoms of COVID-19 in residents being admitted or re-admitted from other health facilities. New residents with COVID-19 compatible symptoms should not be permitted to enter a residential aged care facility.

A national survey by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) has shown extensive infection control measures have been actioned by aged care providers, and there have been many additional costs to combat COVID-19. Key findings of the survey, included:

  • Residential and home care providers reported that implementing staff training, visitor screening, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning costs, enhanced protections and changed visitation arrangements, roster changes and leave management have placed unbudgeted demands on their services.
  • Almost 100 percent of aged care providers were screening staff for COVID-19 symptoms before starting work shifts.
  • Nearly half of aged care providers reported making rostering changes to reduce the number of staff who have contact with individual residents or clients.
  • More than half of aged care providers reported an increase of up to 30 percent in staff leave days during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Almost half of the providers reported staff morale has remained unchanged but 31 percent of residential care providers reported staff morale was ‘worse’ or ‘much worse’.
  • There was an increasing trend for declining wellbeing among residential aged care managers when compared to home care managers.
  • Overall, there were reports of inadequate provision of PPE in RACF and home care.

The Government has engaged Sonic Healthcare (Sonic) to provide a dedicated pathology service for rapid sample collection and testing for suspected cases of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities. This service will supplement existing public health pathology services to assist with the testing of residents and staff of residential aged care facilities during the pandemic (where requested by a medical practitioner). If, due to remoteness, Sonic is unable to provide collection services, pre-prepared COVID-19 collection kits will be sent to a residential aged care facility. A training video and support will be provided to staff to support the collection of samples.

Connected AU and Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia are calling on members of the community to register older family members, friends or neighbours who would like to receive a small gesture of kindness in the form of a letter. Nominate an older person to receive a letter by visiting Connected AU’s website or contact COTA on 1300 268 228 for support to register someone.

Specific information for carers of people with disability

Transport for NSW has information and resources regarding using public transport safely during COVID-19, including a new fact sheet for people living with disability.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released a new video on connecting with Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) partners. The video explains how to access an Early Childhood Partner, how to have your child assessed and how to get supports and services to assist your child.

IDEAS Disability Information has put together information to help families, and carers of students with disability to transition smoothly to a new school routine.

A new survey, released by peak disability rights organisation, People with Disability Australia (PWDA), reveals how difficult COVID-19 has been for many people with disability across Australia.

  • Over 90 percent of people with disability said they had faced increased expenses due to COVID-19. People with disability had higher expenses for food and groceries (58 percent), healthcare (31 percent), internet and phone (26 percent) and sanitising and hygiene equipment (20 percent).
  • The survey showed that both NDIS and non-NDIS supports were affected by the pandemic, with over 40 percent of people with disability reporting less support. 

The Experiences of People with Disability during COVID-19: Survey Results report is available here.

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.

 

 

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