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Visiting care facilities

Some restrictions are in place in our care facilities to help protect vulnerable Victorians receiving care.

Summary

Face masks are mandatory when visiting people in care facilities:

From 11:59pm on Friday 9 April 2021, Victoria has further relaxed its COVIDSafe settings. These changes are designed to balance getting Victorians back to doing the things they love while keeping in place measures to protect all that Victorians have worked so hard for.

  • There are no limits on the purpose of visits, the number of visitors or the length of the visit to care facilities.
  • Facilities may have additional requirements, conditions or restrictions for entry. 
  • People of any age can visit people in care facilities.
  • Do not visit someone in a care facility if you are feeling unwell. Stay home and get tested.
  • You must wear a face mask when visiting care facilities. 
  • All personal care workers, including hairdressers and barbers, can visit care facilities to provide hairdressing services to residents.
  • Care facilities must comply with the two square metre rule that limits the number of people that can be in a shared communal space at the same time. Density limits do not apply in bedrooms of aged care facilities.
  • You will not be permitted to enter a care facility if you are a worker or visitor and you: 
    • are a diagnosed person or close contact under the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions; 
    • have, during the 14 days prior to entry, arrived in Australia from overseas (other than on a quarantine-free flight from an overseas location designated by the Australian Government as a green travel zone); 
    • have, during the 14 days prior to entry, had known contact with a confirmed case (except in the course of your employment while wearing the appropriate level of personal protective equipment in the circumstances);  
    • have SARS-CoV-2 Symptoms; or 
    • if you are a visitor – have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting your test results.  

Restrictions on visitors to care facilities

  • There are no longer specific limits on the number of visits, the length of visits and the purpose of visits to care facilities.
  • People of any age can visit people in care facilities.
  • Specific facility visitation times and limits may also apply.
  • When you visit a person in an aged care facility you must wear a face mask.  You must not visit people in care facilities if you feel unwell.

Declarations

  • Workers and visitors need to declare in writing at the start of a shift or the visit that they:
    • do not have COVID-19 symptoms; and
    • have not been in contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days (except with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at work); and
    • are not currently required to self-isolate or self-quarantine in accordance with the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions.
    • Visitors must also declare that they have not been overseas in the last 14 days.
  • Care facilities need to keep a record of people who work at or who visit each care facility and when. These records need to be kept for 28 days from the day of entry. Record the following details:
    • the contact details of the person; and
    • the date and time at which the person entered the care facility
    • the date and time at which the person left the care facility
    • responses to the declarations (above)
    • screening information (for example, temperature check).
  • It is strongly recommended care facilities use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital system for electronic record keeping.
  • If the care facility has an active COVID-19 outbreak then the operator must limit employees or contractors to one site. Employees working at the care facility with an active outbreak must wait a minimum of 14 days and have a negative test result (within 4 days preceding starting at any new facility) before they can work at another site.
  • The Chief Health Officer or delegate can instruct a care facility to undertake surveillance.

Which types of care facilities are covered?

This applies to all the following care facilities, whether operated by government, the private sector or not-for-profit organisations: 

  • residential aged care facilities 
  • alcohol and drug residential services 
  • homelessness residential services 
  • disability residential services 
  • specialist disability accommodation 
  • eligible SDA enrolled dwelling 
  • secure welfare service 
  • short-term accommodation and assistance dwellings 
  • Supported Residential Services (SRS) 
  • Thomas Embling Hospital. 

Who can visit people in care facilities?

People of any age can visit people in care facilities. 

Do not visit someone in a care facility if you are feeling unwell.

Visitors to any care facility across Victoria must wear a face mask.

Any visitor who is unwell or is waiting for a COVID-19 test result will not be permitted to visit care facilities, unless an exception applies. Exceptions only apply in very limited circumstances.

All Victorian care facilities need to keep a record of people who work at or visit each care facility and when. Records need to be kept for 28 days from the day of entry. Record the following details: 

  • the contact details of the person
  • the date and time at which that person entered and left the care facility
  • their declaration answers (see 'Declarations')
  • screening outcome (for example, temperature screening).

Can people with disability attend centre-based disability day services?

People with disability may attend centre-based disability day services. This includes people who live in disability residential services.

Centre-based disability day services must ensure COVIDSafe principles are implemented, including ensuring that face masks are worn where required, physical distancing is maintained, and density requirements, gathering limits and limits on the number of individuals for specific activities are met. 

Can people with disability stay at short-term accommodation?

Under COVIDSafe Settings, people with disability may stay at short-term accommodation or respite care.

Disability services must ensure COVIDSafe principles are implemented including ensuring masks are worn where required, physical distancing is maintained, and density requirements, gathering limits and limits on the number of individuals for specific activities are met.

Face masks must be worn at short-term accommodation or respite care facilities if you are a visitor and in an indoor space. Residents are not required to wear a face mask.

Do I need to call the facility before I visit someone?

No, but it may be wise to do so. You should be aware that the facility may have additional requirements, conditions or restrictions for entry.

In exceptional cases only, and normally only on specific advice from the Department of Health, some areas may be closed to visitors to keep vulnerable residents safe or to restrict visitors to close family only.

What other conditions apply to visitors?

Visitors should not enter any of the nominated care facilities if they: 

  • are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms, such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, or fever of 37.5 degrees or higher;
  • are a diagnosed person or close contact under the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions;
  • if, in the 14 days prior, they have had known contact with a person who was a confirmed case of COVID-19 (except with appropriate PPE at work);
  • if, in the 14 days prior, they arrived in Australia from overseas (other than on a quarantine-free flight from an overseas location designated by the Australian Government as a green travel zone); if they have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results.

Visitors to any care facility across Victoria must wear a face mask.

Are there any other conditions placed on visits?

Visitors must comply with all screening and infection control measures put in place by the facility. 

Visitors should maintain at least 1.5 metres between you, the resident and all other people in the facility for the duration of the visit. 

Visitors to care facilities across Victoria must wear a face mask while in an indoor space.

What are the restrictions on workers?

Workers need to declare in writing at the start of a shift that they:

  • do not have COVID-19 symptoms; and
  • have not been in contact with a confirmed case (except with appropriate PPE at work); and
  • have not been required to isolate or quarantine in accordance with the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions.
  • Have not worked at another site, and if they have, detail when and where they have worked.

Workers must not enter any facility if they:

  • are unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19, including a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fever, headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees
  • arrived in Australia within the last 14 days (other than on a quarantine-free flight from an overseas location designated by the Australian Government as a green travel zone)
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not yet been given clearance from self-isolation
  • have had known contact in the past 14 days with a person who was a confirmed case of COVID-19 (except with appropriate PPE at work).

Where can I get more information?

For further information relevant to the aged care sector, visit the Aged care sector page on the department website.

For updates, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.

You can also call the coronavirus hotline: 1800 675 398.

If you require an interpreter to help you, call the translating and interpreting service on 131 450 and ask for the coronavirus hotline.

Reviewed 16 April 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

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