COVID-19 advice to ADEA members

Dear members,

The declared COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many organisations, including ADEA. We are continuing to explore options to lessen the impact on our members and people with diabetes. There are many elements of risk to manage and we are working hard with many of our stakeholders to put in place plans that serve the best interests of our members and their clients.

The situation is constantly changing, and we will continue to update this advice. 

Diabetes and COVID-19: Advice for Credentialled Diabetes Educators in Australia about COVID-19 measures and the vaccine rollout.

Coronavirus vaccine rollout

9 April 2021

CDEs are part of phase 1b, as are adults living with diabetes and parents/carers of children living with diabetes.

The Department of Health has confirmed diabetes as a 1b priority group.  To check when an individual is eligible, you can use this tool on the Department of Health website: https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility

Proving eligibility

CDEs need to make an appointment at a vaccination site and bring proof of occupation and employment with them.  The Department of Health began informing qualified General Practices of their status as vaccination sites last week.

People living with diabetes can prove eligibility in the following ways:

If the person is visiting a vaccination site that is not located at their GP then there are a few options:

The Department of Health has communicated that proving eligibility should not be a burdensome process that created unnecessary difficulty for eligible people to receive the vaccine. Because of this, we do not anticipate that CDEs should have problems demonstrating eligibility.

Pfizer vs AstraZeneca

On 8 April 2021, the Australian Government released new advice regarding the safety of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Pfizer is now the preferred vaccine in people under 50 years of age because of the very small risk of blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.  Regarding Pfizer vs AstraZeneca’s efficacy, we are not aware of any data showing that one vaccine is more effective in people with diabetes. Both vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing severe disease. All people living with diabetes should consult their CDE, GP or health professional to determine the appropriate vaccine for them.


COVID-19 vaccine roadmap

28 January 2021

The new COVID-19 cases in several states have highlighted the need for us to continue providing updates to our members as well as advocating for clear measures at a policy level.

It’s pleasing to see the announcement of a vaccine rollout which will prioritise healthcare workers, with first priority going to Frontline health care workers in hospitals and respiratory clinics, and quarantine facility staff, in Phase 1a.

Permanent and contracting staff working in residential disability and aged care facilities will also receive the vaccine as a first priority.

Phase 1b will soon follow, including GPs and some allied health workers. Phase 2a (other critical and high-risk workers) will see more allied health professionals vaccinated. Although CDEs are classified as allied health professionals for the MBS, the Department of Health is still unclear how ‘allied health’ will be defined for these two phases and whether CDEs will be included. We are working to get this information and will let you know as soon as we have it.

Keeping members informed

The vaccine is only the first step in achieving herd immunity and returning to work and life as usual for CDEs and people living with diabetes, and infection control continues to be very important.

We encourage you to sign up to your state or territory health department updates, follow us on social media and check your inbox for member updates on COVID-19. Our dedicated COVID-19 web page has updates as they occur for each region.

If you have questions or information that may assist other CDEs, please don’t hesitate to contact us at communications@adea.com.au.

We hope you stay safe and well and we will continue to keep you updated as new information comes to hand.


 

Department of Health COVID-19 webinar series for health professionals

The Department of Health COVID-19 webinars for primary care and allied health professionals are available here to watch on-demand. The transcript can be downloaded by clicking the top right of the video player from each webinar.

Diabetes supplies for people with diabetes – PBS and NDSS

  1. Access to diabetes medications and supplies through the PBS and NDSS

ADEA works with ADS, Diabetes Australia, the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group and JDRF Australia in an alliance of leading national diabetes organisations. We are encouraging people with diabetes to continue their usual insulin purchasing practices and not stockpile or refill prescriptions more frequently.

The Department of Health has advised there is no national shortage of NDSS products or insulin or other diabetes-related medicines. Read more here.

All diabetes medication and device companies have advised that they have sufficient stock within their warehouses. The spike in March in people accessing diabetes medications and products resulted in some temporary shortages within some warehouses that supply to pharmacies, as the warehouses adapted to the increased demand.

Please be aware that some pharmacies do not stock all insulins, but order on request by people with diabetes.

With the introduction of insulin limits and NDSS product limits, we understand these issues have been resolved; however ADEA members are encouraged to report any incidents of insulin or other medication shortage, or NDSS product shortage.

Insulin Limits – In April, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, in consultation with the Department of Health, agreed on new requirements for community pharmacists to enforce new limits on dispensing and sales of prescription and over-the-counter medicines to address excessive purchasing in community pharmacies. Insulin is on the list of medicines that has been limited, and Diabetes Australia is working with stakeholders on behalf of people with diabetes and diabetes organisations, including ADEA, to ensure that these limits do not adversely impact on people with diabetes. Read more here.

Diabetes Australia and the Pharmacy Guild are also encouraging all pharmacies to stop sale of blood ketone monitoring strips for keto diets and reserve these strips for people with diabetes.

NDSS Product limits – In April, Diabetes Australia, in consultation with the Department of Health, advised people with diabetes are advised not to stockpile NDSS supplies. Limits to NDSS product orders are put in place to help ensure there are enough products available for everyone with diabetes who needs them. Read more here.

Diabetes Australia continues to work with the Pharmacy Guild to ensure the medicines and products supply chain is supported and all people with diabetes across Australia can continue to access their medicines and products.

We recommend that you:

The Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) issued advice to their members about COVID-19 and medication usage. You can access a copy here.

Sanofi update on insulin supply during COVID-19

With Lantus being de-listed from the PBS, Sanofi is accelerating availability of Optisulin to support ongoing access to insulin glargine U100. Sanofi has issued a media release to assure health professionals that there is no shortage of insulin glargine U100. Read the media release here.

2. Blood glucose test strips for people with type 2 diabetes not using insulin

Blood glucose test strips are available for people with type 2 diabetes who are not using insulin, under certain circumstances including ‘inter-current illnesses’. The requirement for a Blood Glucose Test Strip (BGTS) Six Month Approval form to be completed has been temporarily suspended. Read more here.

3. Changes to the delivery of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) starter kits

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Australian Government has introduced a temporary change to the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Initiative to enable a CGM starter kit to be sent directly to the residential address of the person with diabetes or their carer/guardian. This may be appropriate when access to a face-to-face opportunity for the health professional to provide education and support for the setup and ongoing use of the CGM device is unavailable.

A Continuous and Flash Glucose Monitoring Eligibility Assessment form must have been completed, and an Addendum for home delivery of CGM starter kits must be filled in by the certifying health professional to allow this to happen.

Before the follow-up appointment, the health professional should ensure the person with diabetes has received their CGM starter kit.  

For more details refer to the information sheet.

4. Home delivery of medicines and NDSS products

The Australian Government has announced that it is funding medicine home delivery services to help vulnerable people stay at home and reduce their exposure to COVID-19.

The service means participating pharmacies can offer customers free delivery of under 500 grams of medication using the Australia Post Express Post network.

Vulnerable and at-risk Australians, including those isolating themselves at home, people over 70 and people with chronic health conditions are eligible for the service from participating pharmacies.

Check with your local community pharmacy to see if they are offering this service. Some participating pharmacies may be able to add products subsidised through the NDSS to home delivery of medicines. Read more here. Information is also available through the Coronavirus App and WhatsApp.

NDSS forms

Health professionals can now complete NDSS forms for access to services and diabetes products without the need for co-signing by the person with diabetes.

To ensure your clients who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are registered with the NDSS as quickly as possible, to have access to blood glucose monitoring strips and other NDSS products, please ensure that you provide their mobile phone number on the NDSS registration form, and email or fax the form to the NDSS team. This will ensure faster processing and will enable the NDSS team to send an SMS to your client with their NDSS registration number.

Validating concessional status for continuing access to CGM or FGM through the NDSS: ADEA has been advised that some people with type 1 diabetes who are accessing CGM or FGM believe they need to re-register with the NDSS every 12 months. ADEA has sought clarification on the process. People who have type 1 diabetes and are over 21 years old can access CGM or FGM through the NDSS if they have concessional status. They are required to re-validate their concessional status every 12 months. One month prior to their concessional status expiring, a reminder NDSS letter/ email is sent requesting the person to contact the NDSS Helpline to validate their concessional status for continued access to CGM/ FGM through the NDSS. Once the person provides this information, their access is extended for a further 12 months. This re-validation process occurs every 12 months. People do not need to complete a new registration form for continuing access to CGM/ FGM.

State and Territory Health Departments

State and territory jurisdiction health advice on COVID-19 restrictions are available on the relevant jurisdictional website.

Information for CDEs and their clients regarding COVID-19

Information for CDEs

Rights of people with a disability during COVID-19

The Australian Human Rights Commission has published its guidelines this week on the rights of people with disability in health and disability care during COVID-19. The guidelines are available here.

Supporting our mental health

The National Mental Health Commission has launched its ‘Getting Through this Together’ campaign that provides practical tips to stay connected and mentally well during this time.. More information is available on their website: https://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/GettingThroughThisTogether

Alert published for BYD brand N95 respirators

Safer Care Victoria has published an alert in relation to the use of ‘BYD’ brand N95 respirators. These respirators are at risk of tearing when adjustments are made using the straps. Practitioners are advised to use caution with this brand of respirator.

The Health Advocate journal special COVID-19 edition

The August COVID-19 edition of ‘The Health Advocate’ focuses on key policy issues highlighted by COVID-19, the impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, telehealth, how the pandemic killed COAG and beyond COVID-19.

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC): Precautions for caring for aged care home residents with suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19

The ACSQHC has advised that:

For more information, visit the COVID-19 page on the Commission’s website, or contact the Commission at: HAI@safetyandquality.gov.au.

Fact sheets on the use of face masks in the community to protect against COVID-19

Wearing a face mask is now recommended by Australian health experts in areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is high, and where physical distancing is not possible. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed a fact sheet and answers to frequently asked questions to provide guidance to consumers on the use of face masks to protect against COVID-19 and advice on how to use face masks safely. They support the recommendation of the Australian Government and Victorian Government to wear face masks in areas where there is community transmission of COVID-19. These resources are available here:

For more information, please visit the COVID-19 page on the Commission’s website. Please contact COVID19@safetyandquality.gov.au if you have any questions.

Federal Department of Health guidance on the use of face masks and shields by healthcare workers

The Department of Health has published new guidance on the use of face masks and shields by healthcare workers in areas with significant community transmission of COVID-19 (published 30 July 2020).

The guideline can be found on the Department of Health website here

Other guidance on PPE for healthcare workers has also been published or updated (31 July) including:

These and other publications on PPE can be found in the collection of COVID-19 resources for health professionals on the Department of Health website.

National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC)

The NCCC is working to help minimise and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on jobs and businesses and to facilitate the fastest possible recovery of lives and livelihoods. Further information and resources are available here.

Flu shots mandatory for health professionals working in or visiting residential aged care facilities

From 1 May 2020, all health professionals working in or visiting residential aged care facilities are required to have a ‘flu shot. There have been reports of some localised shortages of ‘flu vaccinations, and we request that any members who cannot access a ‘flu shot contact us at inquiries@adea.com.au and include the town or suburb and the State/ Territory in which they could not access a ‘flu vaccination. All information provided will be de-identified and summarised, and will assist the Department of Health in managing local shortages.

Australian Clinical Guidelines for COVID-19

The first version of the Australian Clinical Guidelines for COVID-19 are accessible via the Taskforce website. These guidelines will go through a one-month public consultation process before approval by the NHMRC.

Cochrane resources and news

The COVID-19 page on the Cochrane website provides information and resources for healthcare workers, researchers, policy and guideline developers and the public and carers. Find out more. This webpage provides readable, clinically-focused, actionable answers to inform point-of-care decision-making for health professionals. Read more here.

NDSS Diabetes in Schools program

The online program (level 1 and level 2 general training) is continuing. Face-to-face delivery of the training (level 3) by clinical treating teams in schools has begun in some states across Australia including Victoria, WA and NSW.  A clinical working group made up of clinicians from Perth Children’s Hospital, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and John Hunter Hospital developing a telehealth service for level 3 training. This will roll out in the coming weeks. Other paediatric diabetes centers and health professionals will progressively come on board to provide Level 3 services across Australia in 2020.

Supporting people with long-term conditions during national emergencies

This article from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine highlights that people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, older people and at socio-economic disadvantage are most at risk during national emergencies. Read more here.

Information for your clients

ADEA’s sick day management resources, updated in June 2020,  for health professionals and people with diabetes are available on here our website.

The NDSS information sheets on sick day management complement ADEA’s sick day management resources:

The NDSS has a range of other resources and support for your clients, including:

#DontWaitMate

The Continuity of Care Collaboration (CCC), of which ADEA is a member, has launched the #DontWaitMate campaign encouraging people to continue with appointments with their healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. ADEA has included posts from this campaign on our social media channels and would strongly encourage members to share these through their social media and other networks. You can also get involved by visiting the CCC website here: https://continuityofcare.org/

JDRF Australia has useful information on COVID-19 for people with type 1 diabetes, and JDRF USA has also published useful advice. Please however also refer your clients to the Department of Health’s website, provided above.

The Consumers Health Forum has issued a Special Bulletin with advice for consumers, that may be useful for your clients.

Curtin University has developed an online diabetes course to which you may wish to refer your clients with diabetes.

COVID-19 advice to ADEA members

Dear members,

The declared COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many organisations, including ADEA. We are continuing to explore options to lessen the impact on our members and people with diabetes. There are many elements of risk to manage and we are working hard with many of our stakeholders to put in place plans that serve the best interests of our members and their clients.

The situation is constantly changing, and we will continue to update this advice. 

Diabetes and COVID-19: Advice for Credentialled Diabetes Educators in Australia about COVID-19 measures and the vaccine rollout.

Coronavirus vaccine rollout

9 April 2021

CDEs are part of phase 1b, as are adults living with diabetes and parents/carers of children living with diabetes.

The Department of Health has confirmed diabetes as a 1b priority group.  To check when an individual is eligible, you can use this tool on the Department of Health website: https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility

Proving eligibility

CDEs need to make an appointment at a vaccination site and bring proof of occupation and employment with them.  The Department of Health began informing qualified General Practices of their status as vaccination sites last week.

People living with diabetes can prove eligibility in the following ways:

  • If the person has a GP that is aware of his/her diabetes and is a vaccine site, that should be sufficient as the GP have it in their records.

If the person is visiting a vaccination site that is not located at their GP then there are a few options:

  • their CDE, GP or other health practitioners can write a referral letter,
  • an NDSS card, or
  • a prescription is also be considered proof.

The Department of Health has communicated that proving eligibility should not be a burdensome process that created unnecessary difficulty for eligible people to receive the vaccine. Because of this, we do not anticipate that CDEs should have problems demonstrating eligibility.

Pfizer vs AstraZeneca

On 8 April 2021, the Australian Government released new advice regarding the safety of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Pfizer is now the preferred vaccine in people under 50 years of age because of the very small risk of blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.  Regarding Pfizer vs AstraZeneca’s efficacy, we are not aware of any data showing that one vaccine is more effective in people with diabetes. Both vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing severe disease. All people living with diabetes should consult their CDE, GP or health professional to determine the appropriate vaccine for them.


COVID-19 vaccine roadmap

28 January 2021

The new COVID-19 cases in several states have highlighted the need for us to continue providing updates to our members as well as advocating for clear measures at a policy level.

It’s pleasing to see the announcement of a vaccine rollout which will prioritise healthcare workers, with first priority going to Frontline health care workers in hospitals and respiratory clinics, and quarantine facility staff, in Phase 1a.

Permanent and contracting staff working in residential disability and aged care facilities will also receive the vaccine as a first priority.

Phase 1b will soon follow, including GPs and some allied health workers. Phase 2a (other critical and high-risk workers) will see more allied health professionals vaccinated. Although CDEs are classified as allied health professionals for the MBS, the Department of Health is still unclear how ‘allied health’ will be defined for these two phases and whether CDEs will be included. We are working to get this information and will let you know as soon as we have it.

Keeping members informed

The vaccine is only the first step in achieving herd immunity and returning to work and life as usual for CDEs and people living with diabetes, and infection control continues to be very important.

We encourage you to sign up to your state or territory health department updates, follow us on social media and check your inbox for member updates on COVID-19. Our dedicated COVID-19 web page has updates as they occur for each region.

If you have questions or information that may assist other CDEs, please don’t hesitate to contact us at communications@adea.com.au.

We hope you stay safe and well and we will continue to keep you updated as new information comes to hand.


 

Department of Health COVID-19 webinar series for health professionals

The Department of Health COVID-19 webinars for primary care and allied health professionals are available here to watch on-demand. The transcript can be downloaded by clicking the top right of the video player from each webinar.

Diabetes supplies for people with diabetes – PBS and NDSS

  1. Access to diabetes medications and supplies through the PBS and NDSS

ADEA works with ADS, Diabetes Australia, the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group and JDRF Australia in an alliance of leading national diabetes organisations. We are encouraging people with diabetes to continue their usual insulin purchasing practices and not stockpile or refill prescriptions more frequently.

The Department of Health has advised there is no national shortage of NDSS products or insulin or other diabetes-related medicines. Read more here.

All diabetes medication and device companies have advised that they have sufficient stock within their warehouses. The spike in March in people accessing diabetes medications and products resulted in some temporary shortages within some warehouses that supply to pharmacies, as the warehouses adapted to the increased demand.

Please be aware that some pharmacies do not stock all insulins, but order on request by people with diabetes.

With the introduction of insulin limits and NDSS product limits, we understand these issues have been resolved; however ADEA members are encouraged to report any incidents of insulin or other medication shortage, or NDSS product shortage.

Insulin Limits – In April, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, in consultation with the Department of Health, agreed on new requirements for community pharmacists to enforce new limits on dispensing and sales of prescription and over-the-counter medicines to address excessive purchasing in community pharmacies. Insulin is on the list of medicines that has been limited, and Diabetes Australia is working with stakeholders on behalf of people with diabetes and diabetes organisations, including ADEA, to ensure that these limits do not adversely impact on people with diabetes. Read more here.

Diabetes Australia and the Pharmacy Guild are also encouraging all pharmacies to stop sale of blood ketone monitoring strips for keto diets and reserve these strips for people with diabetes.

NDSS Product limits – In April, Diabetes Australia, in consultation with the Department of Health, advised people with diabetes are advised not to stockpile NDSS supplies. Limits to NDSS product orders are put in place to help ensure there are enough products available for everyone with diabetes who needs them. Read more here.

Diabetes Australia continues to work with the Pharmacy Guild to ensure the medicines and products supply chain is supported and all people with diabetes across Australia can continue to access their medicines and products.

We recommend that you:

  • advise your clients to continue their usual diabetes medication and product purchasing patterns, and not to stockpile or refill prescriptions or NDSS products more frequently. If your clients need to access additional supplies for the purpose of managing sick days, please advise them to only access the volume of medication or products they need.
  • advise ADEA if any of your clients experience issues accessing diabetes medications or products, by emailing us at inquiries@adea.com.au or contact the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700 if any of your clients experience issues accessing diabetes medications or products. Please include the date your client requested the product at a pharmacy, the pharmacy details and the product details.

The Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) issued advice to their members about COVID-19 and medication usage. You can access a copy here.

Sanofi update on insulin supply during COVID-19

With Lantus being de-listed from the PBS, Sanofi is accelerating availability of Optisulin to support ongoing access to insulin glargine U100. Sanofi has issued a media release to assure health professionals that there is no shortage of insulin glargine U100. Read the media release here.

2. Blood glucose test strips for people with type 2 diabetes not using insulin

Blood glucose test strips are available for people with type 2 diabetes who are not using insulin, under certain circumstances including ‘inter-current illnesses’. The requirement for a Blood Glucose Test Strip (BGTS) Six Month Approval form to be completed has been temporarily suspended. Read more here.

3. Changes to the delivery of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) starter kits

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Australian Government has introduced a temporary change to the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Initiative to enable a CGM starter kit to be sent directly to the residential address of the person with diabetes or their carer/guardian. This may be appropriate when access to a face-to-face opportunity for the health professional to provide education and support for the setup and ongoing use of the CGM device is unavailable.

A Continuous and Flash Glucose Monitoring Eligibility Assessment form must have been completed, and an Addendum for home delivery of CGM starter kits must be filled in by the certifying health professional to allow this to happen.

Before the follow-up appointment, the health professional should ensure the person with diabetes has received their CGM starter kit.  

For more details refer to the information sheet.

4. Home delivery of medicines and NDSS products

The Australian Government has announced that it is funding medicine home delivery services to help vulnerable people stay at home and reduce their exposure to COVID-19.

The service means participating pharmacies can offer customers free delivery of under 500 grams of medication using the Australia Post Express Post network.

Vulnerable and at-risk Australians, including those isolating themselves at home, people over 70 and people with chronic health conditions are eligible for the service from participating pharmacies.

Check with your local community pharmacy to see if they are offering this service. Some participating pharmacies may be able to add products subsidised through the NDSS to home delivery of medicines. Read more here. Information is also available through the Coronavirus App and WhatsApp.

NDSS forms

Health professionals can now complete NDSS forms for access to services and diabetes products without the need for co-signing by the person with diabetes.

To ensure your clients who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are registered with the NDSS as quickly as possible, to have access to blood glucose monitoring strips and other NDSS products, please ensure that you provide their mobile phone number on the NDSS registration form, and email or fax the form to the NDSS team. This will ensure faster processing and will enable the NDSS team to send an SMS to your client with their NDSS registration number.

Validating concessional status for continuing access to CGM or FGM through the NDSS: ADEA has been advised that some people with type 1 diabetes who are accessing CGM or FGM believe they need to re-register with the NDSS every 12 months. ADEA has sought clarification on the process. People who have type 1 diabetes and are over 21 years old can access CGM or FGM through the NDSS if they have concessional status. They are required to re-validate their concessional status every 12 months. One month prior to their concessional status expiring, a reminder NDSS letter/ email is sent requesting the person to contact the NDSS Helpline to validate their concessional status for continued access to CGM/ FGM through the NDSS. Once the person provides this information, their access is extended for a further 12 months. This re-validation process occurs every 12 months. People do not need to complete a new registration form for continuing access to CGM/ FGM.

State and Territory Health Departments

State and territory jurisdiction health advice on COVID-19 restrictions are available on the relevant jurisdictional website.

Information for CDEs and their clients regarding COVID-19

Information for CDEs

Rights of people with a disability during COVID-19

The Australian Human Rights Commission has published its guidelines this week on the rights of people with disability in health and disability care during COVID-19. The guidelines are available here.

Supporting our mental health

The National Mental Health Commission has launched its ‘Getting Through this Together’ campaign that provides practical tips to stay connected and mentally well during this time.. More information is available on their website: https://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/GettingThroughThisTogether

Alert published for BYD brand N95 respirators

Safer Care Victoria has published an alert in relation to the use of ‘BYD’ brand N95 respirators. These respirators are at risk of tearing when adjustments are made using the straps. Practitioners are advised to use caution with this brand of respirator.

The Health Advocate journal special COVID-19 edition

The August COVID-19 edition of ‘The Health Advocate’ focuses on key policy issues highlighted by COVID-19, the impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, telehealth, how the pandemic killed COAG and beyond COVID-19.

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC): Precautions for caring for aged care home residents with suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19

The ACSQHC has advised that:

  • when caring for residents with suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19 in aged care homes, staff must use personal protective equipment (PPE) as recommended in the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019)and by their state or territory
  • for areas with significant community transmission of COVID-19, the Infection Control Expert Group has provided guidance regarding use of P2/N95 masks and protective eye wear/face shields in aged care homes. Specific national guidance has also been developed to support aged care homes’ response to COVID-19
  • they have developed a poster to support aged care workers with step-by-step instructions on how to put on and remove PPE, and how to fit check P2/N95 respirator masks, where they are required to be used. Using PPE correctly helps to protect residents and staff from the spread of COVID-19.

For more information, visit the COVID-19 page on the Commission’s website, or contact the Commission at: HAI@safetyandquality.gov.au.

Fact sheets on the use of face masks in the community to protect against COVID-19

Wearing a face mask is now recommended by Australian health experts in areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is high, and where physical distancing is not possible. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed a fact sheet and answers to frequently asked questions to provide guidance to consumers on the use of face masks to protect against COVID-19 and advice on how to use face masks safely. They support the recommendation of the Australian Government and Victorian Government to wear face masks in areas where there is community transmission of COVID-19. These resources are available here:

For more information, please visit the COVID-19 page on the Commission’s website. Please contact COVID19@safetyandquality.gov.au if you have any questions.

Federal Department of Health guidance on the use of face masks and shields by healthcare workers

The Department of Health has published new guidance on the use of face masks and shields by healthcare workers in areas with significant community transmission of COVID-19 (published 30 July 2020).

The guideline can be found on the Department of Health website here

Other guidance on PPE for healthcare workers has also been published or updated (31 July) including:

  • Fact sheet on COVID-19 face shields
  • Guidance on use of PPE in hospitals
  • Guidance on use of PPE in non-inpatient healthcare settings

These and other publications on PPE can be found in the collection of COVID-19 resources for health professionals on the Department of Health website.

National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC)

The NCCC is working to help minimise and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on jobs and businesses and to facilitate the fastest possible recovery of lives and livelihoods. Further information and resources are available here.

Flu shots mandatory for health professionals working in or visiting residential aged care facilities

From 1 May 2020, all health professionals working in or visiting residential aged care facilities are required to have a ‘flu shot. There have been reports of some localised shortages of ‘flu vaccinations, and we request that any members who cannot access a ‘flu shot contact us at inquiries@adea.com.au and include the town or suburb and the State/ Territory in which they could not access a ‘flu vaccination. All information provided will be de-identified and summarised, and will assist the Department of Health in managing local shortages.

Australian Clinical Guidelines for COVID-19

The first version of the Australian Clinical Guidelines for COVID-19 are accessible via the Taskforce website. These guidelines will go through a one-month public consultation process before approval by the NHMRC.

Cochrane resources and news

The COVID-19 page on the Cochrane website provides information and resources for healthcare workers, researchers, policy and guideline developers and the public and carers. Find out more. This webpage provides readable, clinically-focused, actionable answers to inform point-of-care decision-making for health professionals. Read more here.

NDSS Diabetes in Schools program

The online program (level 1 and level 2 general training) is continuing. Face-to-face delivery of the training (level 3) by clinical treating teams in schools has begun in some states across Australia including Victoria, WA and NSW.  A clinical working group made up of clinicians from Perth Children’s Hospital, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and John Hunter Hospital developing a telehealth service for level 3 training. This will roll out in the coming weeks. Other paediatric diabetes centers and health professionals will progressively come on board to provide Level 3 services across Australia in 2020.

Supporting people with long-term conditions during national emergencies

This article from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine highlights that people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, older people and at socio-economic disadvantage are most at risk during national emergencies. Read more here.

Information for your clients

ADEA’s sick day management resources, updated in June 2020,  for health professionals and people with diabetes are available on here our website.

The NDSS information sheets on sick day management complement ADEA’s sick day management resources:

The NDSS has a range of other resources and support for your clients, including:

  • the NDSS website has important information, resources and online programs for people with diabetes including Type 2 Diabetes and Me, GDM resources and specific resources for older people with diabetes.
  • a new fact sheet, ‘Managing worry about COVID-19 and diabetes’. This fact sheet has been developed to support people during this uncertain time, it recognises that things might be a little scary and uncertain at the moment. This fact sheet has been translated into 26 languages. Other NDSS diabetes information sheets have also been translated and are now available in 26 languages too.
  • an updated fact sheet Living with type 2 diabetes and what to do when you are sick
  • a new series of short video clips about gestational diabetes and how it is managed. The Understanding gestational diabetes videos are available on the NDSS website. For health professionals who would like to find out more information about the Understanding gestational diabetes videos, contact Mel Morrison, NDSS Diabetes in Pregnancy National Lead and Advisor.

#DontWaitMate

The Continuity of Care Collaboration (CCC), of which ADEA is a member, has launched the #DontWaitMate campaign encouraging people to continue with appointments with their healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. ADEA has included posts from this campaign on our social media channels and would strongly encourage members to share these through their social media and other networks. You can also get involved by visiting the CCC website here: https://continuityofcare.org/

JDRF Australia has useful information on COVID-19 for people with type 1 diabetes, and JDRF USA has also published useful advice. Please however also refer your clients to the Department of Health’s website, provided above.

The Consumers Health Forum has issued a Special Bulletin with advice for consumers, that may be useful for your clients.

Curtin University has developed an online diabetes course to which you may wish to refer your clients with diabetes.