Action plan for the recommendations of the Independent Review of COVID 19 Clusters in Aged Residential Care Facilities

Information on how the recommendations from the Independent Review of COVID 19 Clusters in Aged Residential Care Facilities were addressed by the Ministry of Health through seven workstreams.

Publication date: 30 July 2020
Updated: 16 August 2021

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Sector feedback on the recommendations

The Independent Review of COVID-19 Clusters in Aged Residential Care (ARC) Facilities Report contained 19 recommendations. On 12 June 2020 the Ministry of Health invited a range of stakeholders to provide feedback online on the recommendations. Stakeholders included participants interviewed by the panel members during the review (including Māori providers), the New Zealand Aged Care Association, the Care Association New Zealand, district health boards (including Te Tumu Whakarae), regional public health units (including Hāpai Te Hauora – Māori Public Health), Māori and non-Māori professional associations, unions, other government agencies, and consumer organisations.

Thirty responses were received over the three-week survey period ending 3 July 2020. Respondents rated each recommendations’ importance, indicated a completion date, and were asked to highlight local, existing work programmes relevant to the report’s recommendations that could be nationally leveraged. 

Across all stakeholder groups, respondents indicated strong support for the report’s recommendations. Respondents also highlighted several local initiatives that could inform the development of national policies or guidelines that could then underpin local application more broadly across New Zealand. The Ministry thanks all those people and organisations who made the time to provide feedback. 

Action plan for the recommendations 

The Action Plan was divided into seven workstreams. Each workstream addressed one or more of the recommendations made in the review and was categorised to demonstrate alignment with the Ministry’s obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

The Ministry considered synergies with the recommendations made in other reports and reviews related to COVID-19 and collaborated accordingly. The first two workstreams were implemented by a cross-sector, multidisciplinary group that was led by the Ministry’s, Dr Phil Wood, Chief Advisor, Healthy Aging team. The Ministry thanks all of those who participated on this working group for sharing their knowledge and expertise that will underpin a stronger national pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak response in future.

All workstreams have been completed, with two workstreams transitioning to business as usual or ongoing oversight. The workstream related to the development of a National IPC strategy for ARC will come under the oversight of the recently formed National IPC Expert Group, who are developing a National IPC strategy for New Zealand.

Number Workstream details Te Tiriti responsibilities Recommendations Lead agency Status
1 A Pandemic Response Policy is developed for the purpose of local implementation in Aged Residential Care (ARC) Sector. This policy must be responsive to Māori, with active measures to protect Māori staff, residents, whānau, and communities. The policy will cover:  
  • Staff, resident and whānau psychosocial support
  • Communication and reporting requirements and channels
  • Relationship building
  • Decision-making and escalation pathways
  • Rapid formation of response team
  • Early case recognition protocols in high-risk environments
  • Practice scenarios
  • Supported clinical rotations or placements in ARC to broaden workforce capability
Tino rangatiratanga
Active protection 
Recommendation 2 Recommendation 3 
Recommendation 7 
Recommendation 9 
Recommendation 10 
Recommendation 11 
Recommendation 12
Healthy System Improvement and Innovation and Office of the Chief Nurse, Ministry of Health  Complete. See New Zealand Aotearoa Pandemic Response Policy for Aged Residential Care.
2 A COVID-19 Outbreak Response Toolkit is developed for ARC. Outbreak response plans are adapted to local contexts, understood by ARC providers and able to be readily implemented. Tino rangatiratanga
Active protection
Recommendation 4 
Recommendation 5
Recommendation 6
Recommendation 8
Recommendation 13
Recommendation 15 
Recommendation 16
Recommendation 18
Healthy System Improvement and Innovation, Ministry of Health Complete.
3 A) Processes for PPE supply, stock management, and guidance on use is effectively communicated to ARC, nationally consistent, and transparent.

B) IPC strategy is developed specific to the ARC sector and scalable for local contexts.
Recommendation 6 
Recommendation 14
Office of the Chief Nurse and COVID-19 Health System Response, Ministry of Health A) Complete
B) Ongoing
4 Acknowledgement by the Ministry of the substantive work done by the ARC sector to prevent and manage the COVID‑19 cluster outbreaks.  Partnership Recommendation 1 Ministry of Health Complete.
5 ARC providers can access information on relevant quality improvement initiatives and network locally to support continuous learning across the sector.  Equity
Recommendation 19 Health Quality & Safety Commission Complete and ongoing. See the Health Quality & Safety Commission website.
6 Alignment of expectations for ARC across regulatory and contractual obligations as relates to IPC and pandemic planning. Active protection Recommendation 13 Healthy System Improvement and Innovation, Ministry of Health Complete
7 Strengthened IPC Standard within the new Health & Disability Services Standard (NZS 8134) with up-to-date information from sector experts Partnership Recommendation 17 Standards New Zealand, Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment Complete. See Ngā Paerewa Health and Disability Services Standard.

 This action plan has been fulfilled and is no longer active.

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