Guidance at Alert Level 1 for Aged care providers

Alert Level 1 guidelines for providers of aged care services and aged residential care facilities.

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Risk and restrictions

At Alert Level 1, the risk of community exposure to COVID-19 is very low. There is no evidence of residual community transmission after widespread symptomatic and surveillance testing.

With the exception of border controls, there are no restrictions on movement and businesses and services are all open. COVID-19 is still uncontrolled overseas so it’s important we remain vigilant. We must continue to do the best we can to protect older people and residents in aged residential care (ARC) facilities who are vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19.


Older people services

At Alert Level 1, the following older people services are available.

  • Planned and emergency respite care in an aged residential care facility.
  • Home and community support services, including household management (eg, cleaning) and personal cares.
  • Aged residential care day programmes, other day programmes, health promotion activities and other community supports are able to be provided. Transport to day services (via providers) will need to adhere to COVID-19 risk screening and public health measures.

Public health measures

Public health measures underpin the alert level framework. Along with general health advice focussed on personal hygiene and sanitation, the measures include contact tracing, testing, isolation and quarantine, and border restrictions.

At Alert Level 1, ARC facilities should continue following public health measures and PPE guidance.

Facilities should have signs at the entrance to encourage visitors and staff to follow public health advice:

  • basic hygiene measures (hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette and avoiding touching face)
  • keeping a record for contact tracing purpose. Facilities can enable contact tracing by obtaining and displaying QR codes so people can use the NZ COVID Tracer app.

Staff should stay at home if unwell and call their general practitioner or Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 if they have COVID-19 symptoms.


Testing

COVID-19 testing is conducted in accordance with the case definition.


ARC care services/activities

Aged residential care (ARC) facilities will operate at their full scope and follow Alert Level 1 public health measures.

Care services/activities that had restrictions in place at Alert Levels 2, 3 and 4 will all resume business as usual processes.

  • Admissions:
    • The ARC COVID-19 screening form has been updated for use at Alert Level 1. This form must be completed a maximum of 48 hours before proposed transfer or admission to an ARC facility.
    • 14-day isolation is not required.
  • Visiting:  
    • COVID-19 risk assessment of visitors, using the Alert Level 1: Risk assessment questions if COVID-19 status is unknown then follow the PPE guidelines for an unknown COVID-19 case, this will be completed before entering the facility to determine appropriate infection prevention and control (IPC) approach. 
    • Visitors should 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 follow the Ministry of Health and facility’s IPC measures, for example hand hygiene and appropriate use of PPE as required based on risk assessment. 
  • All respite care is available.
  • Outpatient/medical appointments:
    • All outpatients and medical appointment services are operating.
    • Virtual consultations remain an option at Alert Level 1.
  • Resident’s family/other outings, day programmes, health promotion activities and other community supports in the community and ARC facilities will resume:
    • No restrictions on gatherings.
    • A record of where residents have been should be kept for contact tracing purposes.
    • People shouldn’t go out if they are unwell. When they are out, they should follow basic hygiene measures.
  • InterNASC transfer will resume.

HealthCERT audits

HealthCERT routine audits (certification audits, surveillance audits, partial provisional audits and provisional audits) will recommence as per the Designated Auditing Agency handbook.


Staff mandatory training programme

Staff mandatory training programme should resume.


InterRAI assessment

InterRAI assessment will go back to normal from 1 July 2020.


Factsheet

Download this Alert Level 1 guidance for aged residential care facilities as a factsheet:

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