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 Thursday 18 June 2020

University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) hosted a webinar last Friday on Life after lockdown – Caring through a crisis. The session discussed some of the challenges for carers and lessons learned during the pandemic and what can be done to better support carers in these situations and moving forward. Carers NSW CEO, Elena Katrakis was a panel member on the webinar which can be viewed here. 

Carers NSW has added two more COVID-19 tip sheets, including tips for carers of people with disability and for carers of people in palliative care – which are part of a series of resources developed as practically focused information for carers. There are five tip sheets now available in the links below.

A national survey of 2,208 young people aged 15-25 and 2,164 parents of young people aged 12-25 was conducted by headspace at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia. Key findings include:

  • 39 percent of young people in NSW feel that COVID-19 has impacted their confidence to achieve their future goals.
  • 46 percent of young people in NSW feel that their mental health has gotten worse since the outbreak of the pandemic.
  • One in five young people in NSW believe they need support for their mental health but are not seeking out professional help (17 percent).

Specific information for carers of older people

The Australian Government Department of Health has received enquiries about whether COVID-19 can be spread through air conditioners. To alleviate concerns, the Department has confirmed that COVID-19 is principally spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes. It is also spread via hands coming into contact with a surface contaminated with droplets, before touching the eyes, nose or mouth. There is little clinical or epidemiological evidence of regular airborne transmission. Transmission of the virus is more likely in poorly ventilated indoor spaces than outdoor spaces and this is reflected in the advice on the department’s website to open windows or adjust air conditioning for more ventilation, as one way to protect yourself indoors.

The Centre for Population Health at Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has released three easy to understand fact sheets for older people to help them stay safe, healthy and connected during COVID-19. The fact sheets are available to download in English, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi and Punjabi. The staying connected fact sheet encourages older Australians to keep in touch with others by video or phone call and offers mental health support phone numbers for those in need. More information about these resources is available here.

The Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) has updated the National Guidelines for the ‘Prevention, Control and Public Health Management of COVID–19 Outbreaks in Residential Care Facilities in Australia’, providing best practice information.

A fact sheet on COVID-19 and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) for clients, families and carers is now available on the Federal Department of Health’s Coronavirus Resources website. It contains information on how aged care workers visiting  clients’ homes must take all necessary measures to ensure that they stay safe, following the advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer. It also explains how the Australian Government has provided $120.2 million ($50 million for CHSP meal providers) to help expand service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CHSP is able to assist clients with grocery shopping, preparing meals, or domestic assistance (unaccompanied shopping) and meals that are delivered to clients’ doors. More information about the CHSP program is available here.

Specific information for carers of people with disability

Hon Stuart Robert MP has announced the first stages of a post-COVID National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). As community restrictions ease, the NDIS will move to a post-pandemic phase from Wednesday 1 July, which includes the conclusion of some of the temporary measures. The following will apply from Wednesday 1 July 2020:

  • removal of temporary 10 percent price loading on certain core and capacity building supports
  • the definition of ‘cancellation period’ is reduced from 10 days to levels under the previous policy
  • Medium Term Accommodation (MTA) period will be returned to the original policy of 90 days (rolled back from 180 days).

Measures offered for participants during the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in place until further reviews are completed. These include:

  • alternatives to face-to-face meetings
  • plan extensions for up to 24 months following review and flexible use of funds to purchase low cost assistive technology. 

COVID-19 resources in braille can now be ordered in large print, with a Braille overlay version of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for people with disability and their supporters fact sheet by emailing DRCsupports@dss.gov.au with your name and address.

Leading Age Services Australia CEO, Sean Rooney will host a webinar presentation, providing insight into Australia’s aged services sector through updates on key trends, drivers and issues impacting providers of aged services. The presentation will also consider the impacts of COVID-19 and critical issues regarding future policy, regulation and funding. The webinar will be broadcast live at 12.30 – 2pm on 24 June and registration 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.

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.