Aged care facility visitor restrictions
In Tasmania, visits to residential aged care facilities are permitted for people providing care and support, with the following restrictions:
- Visitors must not have any symptoms, even if mild, of COVID-19, including fever (a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees), symptoms of fever (chills, night sweats), cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell. Unless an exemption has been granted by the facility in relation to end-of-life care.
- People who are subject to quarantine must not visit a residential aged care facility unless an exemption has been granted. That means they must not have:
- been in an area or premises identified as medium or high-risk for COVID-19 in the previous 14 days
- had contact with anyone known to have COVID-19, or reasonably suspected of having COVID-19, within the previous 14 days (except as part of their employment while wearing effective personal protective equipment).
- Operators of aged care facilities must screen all people (except people attending for emergency medical (including transport), or emergency management reasons), or those granted an exemption for end-of-life care) before they enter the premises. See the Staff/Visitor Screening Tool for Residential Care Services
The operators of aged care facilities are required to record the contact details for everyone who enters the facility regardless of length of visit.
- This includes the name, telephone number and date/time of entry for every person who visits. This is to support rapid contact tracing if someone associated with the facility gets COVID-19. Contact information must be recorded using the Check-in TAS app as outlined within the Contact tracing Direction.
If visits are being carried out in communal areas, it is important that a physical distance of 1.5 metres be maintained between people whenever possible.
Influenza vaccine is strongly encouraged for anyone who spends time in residential aged care facilities.
Each resident may receive multiple visits each day, subject to each facilities’ policies.
The maximum duration of visits is subject to each facilities’ policies.
Children under the age of 16 years as well as visiting services such as hairdressers and allied health professionals may visit aged care facilities.
Residents may leave the facility, for example with family and friends.
End of Life Care
Under normal circumstances, visitors must not have any symptoms of COVID-19, even mild, to visit an aged care facility.
To support end of life care, under the Residential Aged Care Facilities Direction, residential aged care facilities may allow a person who has symptoms of COVID-19, to visit their facility for the purpose of providing support to a resident.
Visitors must always comply with requirements as set out by the facility during the visit. As a minimum, it is recommended that a face mask is worn for the duration of the visit.
If you have symptoms and are visiting for end-of-life care, please contact the facility prior to arrival. This will allow them to discuss with you the requirements for your visit.
Seeking exemptions to visit an aged care facility while in quarantine
The Director of Public Health can provide exemptions to permit people in quarantine (i.e. travellers who have been directed to quarantine and close contacts of confirmed cases), to visit aged care facilities on a case-by-case basis if the person seeking to visit the facility:
- is well (no fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection); and
- seeks to provide end-of-life support to that resident.
For people arriving from medium or high-risk areas who have been directed to quarantine on arrival, an application for exemption to visit an aged care facility is in addition to a G2G PASS and any exemption the person receives to travel to Tasmania and to leave quarantine for other reasons. i.e. An application to visit an aged care facility while being in quarantine is a two-step process with two different Tasmanian Government agencies.
How to apply for exemption to visit an aged care facility while in quarantine
- Discuss your proposed visit with the manager of the residential aged care facility
- If the facility manager is supportive of your visit, request a letter of support naming you as the proposed visitor
- Request a letter from the resident’s treating doctor, certifying that the resident is nearing end-of-life
- Apply for exemption through the G2G website; select the category ‘Leaving isolation to enter an aged care facility’ and upload supporting information, including the letter of support from the facility and the letter from the resident’s doctor.
For people travelling to Tasmania:
- Applications are assessed by Public Health Services from Monday to Friday in business hours. You are encouraged to apply at least three (3) days prior, but no more than 14 days, prior to your proposed travel date. In extraordinary circumstances, urgent applications will be considered. Please call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 if your application is urgent.
- Approval from Public Health Services to leave quarantine to visit an aged care facility is the first step. After Public Health Services has assessed your request to visit the facility, your application for a G2G pass will be assessed. If approved by both agencies, you will receive a G2G pass and a letter of approval from Public Health by email. If not approved, your G2G pass will be rejected.
For people already in Tasmania:
- Applications are assessed by Public Health Services from Monday to Friday in business hours. Please call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 if your application is urgent.
- If exemption is granted, you will receive a letter of exemption by email to the email address provided in the G2G application. If exemption is not approved, you will be notified by email.
If you receive approval to visit the aged care facility, make sure you take your G2G pass and the letter from Public Health Services with you on your visit, as evidence that exemptions have been provided. Otherwise you will not be permitted to visit. You will also need to complete a screening form when you arrive. When you fill out the screening form, you must declare that you are in quarantine. You must also comply with any directions given by Public Health or staff of the facility, such as wearing a face mask.