Home Care Packages approved to fund Rapid Antigen Test kits for care recipient’s and their direct care workers in a bid to ensure the ongoing provision of COVID Safe services to care recipicients.
Arriving in Australia in late December 2021, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has taken everyone by surprise. After nearly two years of trying to control the virus through extended lockdowns, border closures and a nationwide vaccination drive, Omicron pushed daily cases over 100,000 and forced a change in narrative almost overnight.
Omicron plunged our health system into overwhelm and saw testing facilities pushed to the limit. To help relieve the burden suddenly placed on the system, Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) were approved for use in Australia in late December. An alternative to PCR testing for COVID, Rapid Antigen Tests have since been approved for Home Care Package (HCP) care recipients.
The Australian Government acknowledges the in-home care sector and their continued efforts to provide necessary services to ageing Australians so that they may continue living as independently as possible in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. The pandemic has highlighted the challenges facing the residential care sector, so whatever support is extended to the in-home care sector is greatly appreciated by providers.
Under the program announced last week on 18 January, we can now choose to conduct daily testing of our care workers to ensure the ongoing provision of COVID Safe services to our HCP care recipients. We have taken steps to procure a supply of RAT kits and once received, we will begin testing.
The program permits us to utilise a care recipient’s HCP funds to cover the costs of purchasing RAT kits in the following instances:
- To cover the costs of purchasing RAT kits for testing of home care workers, we may temporarily increase case management fees. You will be notified of any increased fee and given the opportunity to opt out, and
- To reimburse our care recipients for RAT kits purchased by them for the purpose of meeting their aged care needs, such as supporting the continued delivery of aged care services.
This is good news for HCP care recipients and will hopefully result in less service delivery disruption.
If you have any questions about the Rapid Antigen Tests for Home Care Packages Program, please get in touch today!