Last updated 5 May 2021
We would like to acknowledge and thank the Queensland HealthPathways Community, Streamliners NZ and SHECC for this resource.
Access to RACFs may be restricted at times as outlined in the Public Health Direction – Aged Care Direction. This direction will be updated depending on local and community circumstances, and may limit access, require the use of face masks, or mandate that visitors be immunised against seasonal influenza.
From 30 May 2021, an up‑to‑date vaccination against influenza is a requirement to enter an RACF. The only exceptions to this requirement are if:
See also Queensland Health – Aged Care Sector.
This pathway is for general practitioners assessing and managing a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in a residential aged care facility (RACF). See also:
1. Prepare for assessment of patients with suspected COVID-19 in RACFs:
2. Whenever clinically appropriate and possible, use telehealth consultations using COVID-19 MBS Items. Otherwise, ensure infection control measures including personal protective equipment (PPE) are in place to assess the patient.
3. Take a history including:
4. Ask RACF staff to check vital signs (including pulse oximetry if available).
5. Determine severity. See National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce – Assessment for Suspected COVID-19.
6. Follow up with an in-person examination if a diagnosis of moderate or severe illness cannot be confidently excluded via telehealth assessment.
7. At the end of the consultation, remove and dispose of all PPE, perform hand hygiene, and wipe all contacted or contaminated surfaces with detergent or disinfectant. The room does not need to be left empty after sample collection.
8. Investigations – use the severity of illness and the goals of care to determine the appropriate place for investigations.
1. Determine the appropriate place for management according to severity of illness and goals of care:
2. If, in consultation with public health, it is determined to be appropriate to manage the resident at the facility:
3. If COVID-19 is suspected on clinical grounds, but the swab result is negative, contact the local public health unit for advice.
4. Prevent further infections:
5. Provide supportive treatment. There are currently no proven therapies beyond supportive care available for the treatment of COVID‑19.
6. Monitor the patient regularly, including while waiting for test results:
7. Provide regular updates to the family.
8. If the patient improves, liaise with the facility and the local public health unit to determine suitability for release from isolation.
9. Manage COVID-19-related deaths.
For health professionals