COVID-19: Aged care providers

Information to help support a safe transition to Alert Level 2 for providers of services for older people. It includes aged care, home and community support services and day programmes.

Last updated: 22 May 2020

Alert Level 2 guidelines

Older people services

The older people services below are operating as normal with safe COVID-19 measures in place.

Operating safely means following public health measures (infection prevention control, physical distancing, and contact tracing) and conducting COVID-19 risk assessments.

Conducting a COVID-19 risk assessment may include checking if visitors/attendees/staff are or have been unwell, of if they have recently been in contact with someone who has been unwell. You may find the risk assessment questions and other information here useful.

Services available are:

  • Aged residential care, including, planned and urgent respite care (see below for visiting policy).
  • Home and community support services, including personal cares (eg, showering and feeding), and home help (eg, cleaning).
  • All equipment, housing and vehicle modifications services if done safely.
  • Hearing and vision services (including NZ Sign Language interpreters) and rehabilitation therapies if done safely.
  • Day programmes, health promotion activities and other community supports if done safely and following limits and rules for the gathering of people. Providers are still encouraged to provide services virtually, or in different ways if possible. Aged residential care day programmes remain closed. Transport to day services (via providers) will need to adhere to COVID-19 risk screening and public health measures.

PPE use in health care

The Ministry of Health is continually reviewing advice and guidance on the use of PPE. Read more about the latest advice on PPE and its use in different health care settings.

Visiting policy in aged residential care under Alert Level 2

During Alert Level 2 more visiting will be allowed, including general family visits and non-essential service visits. However, providers will take precautions and manage visiting in a controlled way to minimise the risk of COVI-19 transmission to residents and staff.

At risk staff

At risk staff may want to return to work safely. This includes people over 70 years old or with underlying health conditions.

Returning to work should be based on the person’s self-assessment, agreement with their manager and the recommendation that no one will be unduly exposed to COVID-19, including working in high risk areas.

Workforce risk assessment guidance and assessment tools has been developed by district health boards for the health and disability sector to identify staff vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. This will enable organisations to assess and mitigate the risks for their workforce by identifying any workplace restrictions or modifications that may be needed.

The guidance and assessment tools are being used by all district health boards.

It has also been adapted for used in the aged residential care (ARC) sectors.

Here is a link to the guidance and assessment tools being used by DHBs.

Alert Level 2 guidance for managing residents entering and exiting aged residential care facilities

These documents provide guidance for managing residents entering and exiting aged residential care facilities. This includes guidance on admission from the hospital or community, transfers to the hospital, respite, essential outpatient/medical appointments, resident outings and interRAI assessments. 

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

This COVID-19 screening form must be completed two days before considering a hospital discharge or moving from a home environment into an aged residential care 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).

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.

COVID-19 interNASC transfers

An interNASC transfer is when a person moves between district health boards. This means moving from one facility to another in a different region. Transfers are restricted at different alert levels during the response to COVID-19. This guidance has information to help manage this process.

Residents with dementia

This guidance provides information to help care for people with dementia in aged residential care facilities during the COVID-19 response. It includes advice to reduce the spread of infection and information to maintain care and quality of life.

Back to top