COVID-19: Aged care providers

Information and guidance on COVID-19 for Aged care providers at all Alert Levels.

Page last updated: 21 September 2020

Auckland is at Alert Level 2. The rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1.

Under Alert Level 2, there are a range of measures for managing visits to Aged Residential Care facilities to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission to residents and staff, including:

  • Visits will be limited to designated visitors.
  • There will be a limit on the number of designated visitors at one time, by appointment and sign in process. Check with the aged care facility directly prior to organising a visit.
  • Lengths of visits and visiting areas will be determined at the discretion of the facility. Consideration will include the resident’s health, and the number of appointments the facility already has.

At Alert Level 1, general family visits to ARC facilities are permitted.

At all Alert Levels, the following measures should be carried out when visiting ARC facilities:

  • Health screening and assessment of all visitors will be completed before entering the facility.
  • Visitors must follow the Ministry of Health’s and the facility’s infection prevention and control measures, for example hand hygiene, physical distancing and appropriate use of PPE.
  • Visitors must stay at home if they are unwell, under investigation of COVID-19 or a close contact of someone who is a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • Visitors must record visits using QR codes, adding a manual entry to their digital diary or sign in manually.

On-site audits will resume in Auckland. Auditors should complete health screening before entering the facility and follow public health and infection prevention and control measure, for example hand hygiene, physical distancing and appropriate use of PPE.

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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 at all Alert Levels

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 frequently asked questions about PPE and COVID-19. 

At risk staff

For Alert Levels 2, 3 and 4:  Workforce Risk Assessment and Guidance tools should be used to identify staff vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, to assess and mitigate their risks, including through workplace restrictions and modifications. 

At risk staff can work based on the persons self-assessment, agreement with their manager and efforts to limit undue exposure to COVID-19. Where possible at-risk workers should work virtually or follow all Worksafe and Ministry of Health guidelines on delivery of safe services.

Guidance and assessment tools being used by DHBs

Screening form for a person to enter an aged residential care facility

This form must be completed a maximum of 48 hours before proposed transfer or admission to an Aged Residential Care (ARC) facility. 

Managing staff and residents with COVID-19 infection

This guidance is to know how to manage staff and residents with potential COVID-19 infection in aged residential care facilities. It includes information to help staff know what to do if they feel unwell to protect residents in care from COVID-19.

It also has clear guidance to follow if COVID-19 infection is suspected, probable or confirmed in a resident. It is important to act quickly to isolate them and avoid the risk of spread to other residents.

District health boards (DHBs) are expected to work closely with facilities to ensure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Visiting Aged Residential Care facilities

interNASC transfers – Aged Residential Care

Advice for aged care providers supporting residents with dementia

Preventing and controlling COVID-19 outbreaks

This guidance and supporting resources are provided by the Health Quality and Safety Commission New Zealand.

The guidance has information on preventing and controlling COVID-19 outbreaks in aged residential care. There is also practical assistance with checklists, signs and templates for aged residential care facilities to help you manage the facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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