COVID-19: Aged care providers

Information and guidance on COVID-19 for aged care providers under the COVID Protection Framework.

Page last updated: 26 May 2022

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Health workers can download the Āwhina app to stay up-to-date on the latest information relevant to COVID-19 and the health and disability sector.

Guidance for testing and isolation in Aged Residential Care (ARC) facilities

This document is to provide guidance for testing and isolation in aged residential care (ARC) facilities.  It includes information for staff, residents and visitors.

Aged Residential Care guidance for operation under the COVID-19 Response Framework 

This guidance for aged residential care providers is on operation under the Government’s new COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights). The updated guidance focuses on the “triggers” related to the amount of COVID in the DHB region/community an ARC facility is in.

COVID-19 vaccination

People who are fully vaccinated can still become infected. However, they are much less likely to become very unwell and less likely to transmit the virus to others, particularly if the people around them are also fully vaccinated.

The Ministry of Heath has announced the Public Health Response (Vaccination) Amendment Order (No 3) which requires health and disability (including aged care) staff to be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022. This requirement also applies to auditors undertaking HealthCERT audits.

More information and guidance about COVID-19 vaccination requirement can be found here:

New Zealand Pandemic Response Policy for Aged Residential Care

The New Zealand Pandemic Response Policy for Aged Residential Care should underpin all pandemic planning, including COVID-19, in aged residential care.

COVID-19 Outbreak Response Toolkit for Aged Residential Care

The Ministry partnered with the sector to develop the COVID-19 Outbreak Response Toolkit for Aged Residential Care. The Toolkit outlines the practical steps the responsible person within an aged residential care facility should follow in relation to preparing, responding to, and reviewing an outbreak of COVID-19. It includes relevant links to the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19 on the Ministry’s website. There are also downloadable resources and templates for use to support aged residential care facilities respond to an outbreak of COVID-19. 

See the COVID-19 Outbreak Response Toolkit for Aged Residential Care.

Six Principles for Safe Visiting and Social Activities in Aged Residential Care 

These Six Principles for Safe Visiting and Social Activities in Aged Residential Care support ARC providers in the development of policies and procedures that enable safe visiting, social activities and outings in the context of viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19.

PPE use in health care

PPE should be used correctly and safely in accordance with the Ministry of Health guidance for health and disability care settings.

Following the risk assessment questions when a person’s COVID-19 status is unknown will help determine the type of PPE to use, if any. Risk assessments include checking if visitors/attendees/staff are or have been unwell, or if they have recently been in contact with someone who has been unwell.

The Ministry of Health is continually reviewing advice and guidance on the use of PPE. Read more about the risk assessment questions, the latest advice on PPE and its use in different health care settings, and guidance for P2/N95 particulate respirators in the absence of fit testing.

Independent review into clusters of COVID-19 in aged residential care

Following the classification of five clusters of COVID 19 in ARC facilities, the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, commissioned this review to quickly learn what was effective and what needs to be improved in order to avoid or better manage any similar events in the future. Read the full report and recommendations.

The report made 19 recommendations, which were turned into an action plan with seven workstreams. These workstreams have been addressed and the action plan is now considered fulfilled. Read the action plan.

Retirement Villages

Retirement Villages operate under the same guidance as the wider community where they are based. For example if your city or region is at Orange then the Retirement Village must also operate within the Orange guidance. Find more about the Traffic Light settings.

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