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Visiting residential aged care facilities - coronavirus (COVID-19)

Overview

Residential aged care facilities across Queensland have restrictions in place to ensure the ongoing safety of patients and staff.

Update - 13 May 2022

  • While a person is a close contact they cannot visit a residential aged care facility, unless in exceptional or compassionate circumstances (e.g. an end of life visit). If permitted to visit while a close contact, they must:
    • test negative within 24 hours prior to entering the residential aged care facility
    • have no COVID-19 symptoms
    • advise the operator they are a close contact and comply with any requirements they have in place
    • wear a mask and follow any PPE or protective measures required of you.
  • International Arrivals should not visit a residential aged care facility for the first 7 days of arriving in Queensland, unless in exceptional or compassionate circumstances (e.g. an end of life visit). If permitted to visit in the first 7 days, they must follow protective measures including:
    • test negative for COVID-19 within 24 hours of arrival in Queensland
    • get a test within 24 hours prior to visiting the residential aged care facility
    • does not have COVID-19 symptoms
    • wears a mask and follows any PPE or protective measures required.
  • Students, and volunteers engaged by the residential aged care facility (and not by another organisation) should follow the requirements of the Workers in a healthcare setting (COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements) Direction.

Entering a residential aged care facility

Visitors cannot enter a residential aged care facility in Queensland if they:

  • have COVID-19
  • recently had COVID-19 and it has been 7 days or less since their isolation period ended
  • are close contact, unless in exceptional or compassionate circumstances (e.g. an end of life visit)
  • have returned from overseas in the last 7 days, unless in exceptional or compassionate circumstances (e.g. an end of life visit)
  • have had a COVID-19 test and are waiting for the result (except for tests due to surveillance testing obligations)
  • have COVID-19 symptoms or fever (37.5 degrees or more)
  • are unvaccinated and not visiting for a permitted purpose. Permitted purposes include being:
    • under 16 years of age
    • unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a medical contraindication and have evidence of a recognised medical contraindication
    • a COVID-19 vaccine trial participant and receipt of a Therapeutic Goods Administration approved COVID-19 vaccine would impact the validity of the trial. The medical certificate must not have expired.
    • a visitor of a resident in shared disability accommodation service for one of the following purposes:
      • for an end of life visit (you do not need an exemption)
      • in an emergency
      • maintaining continuity of care to a resident, including advocacy services, that cannot be delivered by electronic or non-contact means.

If you fit into one of the above categories, you may still be permitted enter a residential aged care facility if:

  • you are granted an exemption to visit a resident at the end of life and you have the permission of the operator of the aged care facility
  • in isolation or quarantine, or during your post-isolation or post-quarantine periods, you are permitted to leave isolation or quarantine under the Isolation of Diagnosed Cases of COVID-19 and Management of Close Contacts Direction
  • if an exemption is granted in other exceptional circumstances.

Entering for compassionate or exceptional reasons

If you are a close contact and permitted to visit for compassionate or exceptional reasons, you must:

  • test negative within 24 hours prior to entering the residential aged care facility
  • have no COVID-19 symptoms
  • advise the operator you are a close contact and comply with any requirements they have in place
  • .wear a mask and follow any PPE or protective measures required of you

If you are an international arrival and permitted to visit in the first 7 days, for compassionate or exceptional reasons, you must:

  • test negative for COVID-19 within 24 hours of arrival in Queensland
  • get a test within 24 hours prior to visiting the residential aged care facility
  • not have COVID-19 symptoms
  • wear a mask and follows any PPE or protective measures required of you.

Staying safe in a residential aged care facility

Visitors and volunteers should:

  • wear a face mask at all times while in an indoor space of the facility
  • provide their contact information on entry, using the Check In Qld app or another method of collection
  • when required, provide verbal confirmation and any relevant proof they are:
    • fully vaccinated
    • don’t have symptoms
    • aren’t awaiting a COVID-19 test result
    • aren’t subject to any other restrictions
  • comply with any other measures the aged care accommodation operator puts in place
  • wash their hands before entering and leaving the facility
  • stay 1.5 metres away from others where possible
  • comply with mandatory face mask requirements
  • stay away when unwell
  • follow requests from the facility to help keep staff and residents safe.

Requirements for residential aged care operators

Collection of contact information

Operators of residential aged care facilities must collect contact information, proof of vaccination or vaccination exemption certificate by requesting all visitors and volunteers use the Check In Qld app, unless the visitor or volunteer is:

  • entering a residential aged care facility in an emergency
  • appears to be younger than 16 years old
  • in a position where it is not reasonable to request contact information based on compassionate grounds or a risk to a person’s safety.

If the contact information can't be collected through the app, the operator must register them through the Business Profile of the app.

The Check In Qld app QR code must also be displayed at all entries to the facility.

What fully vaccinated means

Fully vaccinated means a person has had the prescribed number of doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

Getting proof of vaccination

Proof of vaccination verifies that a person is fully vaccinated.

There are 3 different types of proof available:

  • a COVID-19 digital certificate
  • your immunisation history statement (IHS)
  • an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate for overseas travel.

Evidence of a medical contraindication

Evidence of a medical contraindication means proof that a person has a medical condition that prevents them from being vaccinated. The exemption certificate is generated when a specific form is submitted by an eligible healthcare professional. This updates the person's Australian Immunisation Register record to show that they have an approved medical reason that prevents them from getting any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia.

This process can be started by talking to a GP or other eligible healthcare professional about whether it's appropriate to them to submit the form on the person's behalf. If they are successful, they can get the medical exemption certificate by downloading it from the Australian Immunisation Register.

Residents

The operator of the residential aged care facility must take reasonable steps to develop and document processes to ensure residents and their unique needs can be immediately identified in a COVID-19 event. This may include requiring residents to wear identification and ensuring residents’ personal preferences and needs during a COVID-19 event are documented.

Workers

The operator of a residential aged care facility must comply with all obligations under the Workers in a healthcare setting (COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements) Direction.

Visitors

Visitors includes people visiting a resident of the residential aged care facility, and people entering to provide products or services on a voluntary basis, as part of their role with another organisation.

Employees, volunteers engaged by the residential aged care facility (and not by another organisation), and students are not considered visitors but are considered workers in healthcare, and should follow the requirements of the Workers in a healthcare setting (COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements) Direction.

More information

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