Topic: Managing the movement of residents in response to positive COVID-19 risk – balancing the wellbeing of residents with legal risk and clinical governance issues

Day: Wednesday 21 October 2020

Time:  1:50pm-2:10pm AEDT


Providers are adapting and responding to COVID-19 risk in aged care services and considering how best to protect the safety of both COVID-19 positive and negative residents. Increasingly providers are looking to identify locations and solutions where residents might be safely cohorted together to isolate the unwell, quarantine those suspected to have COVID-19, or reduce the exposure to COVID-19 negative residents. Residents are also choosing to return home temporarily, a move which involves its own unique set of challenges.
This session will be presented by Julie McStay and Lucinda Smith who are Partners in the Health, Aged Care and Retirement Villages team at Thomson Geer and Cynthia Payne who is the Chief Executive officer of Anchor Excellence. 
Together they will examine the legal, risk management and clinical governance issues that providers must navigate if they are considering cohorting COVID-19 positive residents in a particular part of a service or, for larger providers, in a dedicated COVID-19 positive service and how they can do so without compromising resident well-being. We will also look how providers are managing the issues relating to consumers who choose to take leave to return to the community.
From a legal and clinical governance perspective we will consider:
• The legal and compliance issues in the context of immediate COVID-19 risk• Clinical governance for COVID-19 positive, negative and exposed residents, including infection control• Identifying suitable sites where residents may be cohorted together and strategies to manage risk  • Obtaining the relevant consent from residents or substitute decision makers• Security of tenure issues 


Julie is a Partner in the Aged Care and Retirement Living team at Thomson Geer. She leads the firm’s Brisbane Health & Aged Care team. The team is a unique combination of 12 lawyers and clinical consultants. Julie’s team forms part of the larger national Health & Aged Care team working across Australia.

Julie specialises in providing regulatory compliance advice to residential aged care providers, home care providers, health care providers and disability service providers. Julie is acknowledged as a leading provider of legal services to these industries. She provides advice in relation to all aspects of non-compliance including sanction and accreditation decisions, coroner’s matters, major incident investigations and workplace health and safety investigations.

She advises a large range of aged care providers and retirement living operators including publicly listed groups, private groups and not-for-profits. She is a trusted advisor to some of the largest aged care providers in the country and is retained for many providers in the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

In addition, Julie is a Director of Simply Legal Pty Ltd, an organisation that offers access online to high-quality document templates for aged care providers and retirement village operators.

Julie has a Masters of Law with a major in health law. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Julie has been recognised by her peers as ‘Lawyer of the Year’ by Best Lawyers in Australia (2021) in the area of Health and Aged Care Law in Brisbane. She has also been recognised by her peers as one of the Best Lawyers in Australia (2012 – 2021) in the areas of Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law and Health and Aged Care Law.

Julie has been recognised in Doyle’s Guide as a pre-eminent lawyer in Queensland (2016 – 2020) and in Australia (2017 – 2019) in Health and Aged Care.