Restrictions on entry to residential aged care facilities
A State of Emergency has been declared in Tasmania. Legal restrictions on visits to residential aged care facilities started on 23 March 2020.
Who can enter an aged care facility?
Below is a list of who can enter an aged care facility. Importantly, even if you meet any of the criteria below, there are still restrictions on whether you can enter.
You may be allowed to enter an aged care facility if you are:
- a resident, or prospective resident (someone considering becoming a resident) of the facility
- an employee or contractor of the facility
- a person providing goods or services needed for the facility to operate effectively
- a person providing health, medical or pharmaceutical goods or services to a resident of the facility.
- a person providing end-of-life support to a resident of the facility
- a person providing emergency management or law enforcement services for the facility
- a person providing care and support to a resident of the facility, provided the visit:
- lasts less than two hours, and
- involves no more than two visitors per resident at any one time, and
- takes place in the resident’s room, outdoors or in a private area that is designated by the facility for the purpose of the visit.
People who must not visit under any circumstances
Even if you fit into one or more of the categories above, you must not enter, or remain on, the premises of any residential aged care facility in Tasmania in any circumstances if:
- you arrived in Tasmania from interstate or overseas that day or in the 14 days before you propose to enter, or remain on, the premises
- you have had known contact that day orduring the 14 days before you propose to enter, or remain on, the premises, with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- you have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees or one or more of the following symptoms:
- fever (or signs of fever – night sweats, chills)
- sore throat
- muscular pains
- shortness of breath
- unexpected tiredness
- you have not had an up-to-date seasonal influenza vaccination, if a vaccine is available and there is no medical reason for you not to have the vaccine
- you are less than 16 years old, except to provide end of life support.
What do aged care residential facility operators need to do?
A person who owns, controls, or operates a residential aged care facility in Tasmania must take all reasonable steps to ensure that people do not enter, or remain on, the premises if they meet any of the criteria for ‘People who must not visit under any circumstance’.
The Law and penalties
These restrictions were included in a direction issued by theDirector of Public Health under section 16 of the Public Health Act 1997, to protect older Tasmanians from COVID-19.
The penalty for failure to comply with this direction is a fine of up to $16,800 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both.
Which facilities do the restrictions apply to?
The restrictions apply to any facility that provides accommodation, personal care or nursing care to a person receiving, or eligible for, subsidies under the Aged Care Act 1997.
The Direction applies to facilities:
- providing permanent or respite residential care, and
- providing residential transitional care programs, and
- providing residential multi-purpose services.
- receiving, or eligible for, subsidies under the Aged Care Act 1997.
The restrictions do not apply to retirement villages, private homes and community respite care settings.