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New COVID-19 tool for rest homes

File photo.

A new screening tool aimed at bolstering the safety of aged residential care residents and staff has been released to district health boards, aged care providers and the wider health sector for immediate use. 

The tool, which takes the form of a detailed questionnaire to be completed by clinical professionals, will be used to assess when to test new or returning Aged Residential Care residents for COVID-19.

The form is to be used by clinical professionals assessing people who are either being discharged, transferred or moved into ARC, says the Ministry of Health.

The tool was developed by a clinical working group established by the Ministry of Health, DHBs and the New Zealand Aged Care Association.

"The group includes Nigel Millar (Southern DHB), Frances Hughes (NZACA, Oceania Healthcare), Rhonda Sherriff (NZACA), Carolyn Cooper (Bupa), Cheyne Chalmers (Ryman Healthcare), Richard Scrase (Canterbury and West Coast DHBs), Harriette Carr (Deputy Director of Public Health, Ministry of Health), and Kathy Glasgow (Principal Nursing Advisor, Ministry of Health)," says the Ministry.

"The tool outlines the specific clinical and contact information required by ARC to support safe admission of new residents, and those returning from the community or hospitals.

"It's expected to provide greater assurance to providers, residents and their families about the measures being taken to keep ARC facilities safe during COVID-19."

The tool - COVID-19 Screening Form: For a person to enter an aged residential care facility - is available on this website.

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