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Victoria outbreaks put aged care at increased danger

Release date: 09 Jul 2020

The peak body for non-profit aged care providers Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) says that the escalating COVID-19 situation in Victoria may necessitate a return to more stringent protection measures for aged care homes and services.

“Sadly, and despite everyone’s best efforts, the situation in Victoria creates a greater risk for our residents, home care clients and staff, Patricia Sparrow, ACSA CEO said.

“We are warning that increased protection measures around visitation are likely to be necessary in the coming weeks. 

“Everyone knew that as general restrictions in the community were lifted this would increase the risk of clusters and outbreaks and that’s exactly what has happened. 

“We can’t get blasé about aged care because older people are one of the most vulnerable groups for COVID19.  Aged care providers are calling on all Australians to stay vigilant to protect older people.

“Every situation will be unique but there are steps to be taken to reduce the chances of more outbreaks. Providers don’t make these decisions lightly.

"At the top of our minds is the need to balance prevention of outbreaks with mental health, emotional and spiritual care and compassion. And to ensure that in circumstances where a loved one is receiving palliative care or needs particular care and support that is able to continue to be provided. 

“This is just as important as preventing outbreaks but getting the balance right is very difficult and that’s why we have an agreed visitor access code for residential care.

"In most cases, visitors are understanding of the restrictions and we continue to ask for that understanding. We are also appealing to all Australians to do everything possible to protect older people in the community as well as those residing in residential care services. If you are at all unwell or displaying symptoms please reach out to connect and support them by picking up the phone, using other digital means or utilising window contacts.

“The tragedy of this for older people and aged care workers is that they are at the frontline and vulnerable. We need to make sure we are fully equipped to continue to manage the risk COVID-19 presents to our clients and residents and staff.

“We’re yet to see a full response from the government on the package of measures required to see aged care through the pandemic. There are increased costs to providers for things like PPE, additional staff and leave which are immense and putting extreme pressure on non-profit providers, a majority of which are running at a deficit,” Ms Sparrow said.

If you have queries or are concerned you can speak to your aged care provider or you can contact OPAN on 1800 237 981, 6am-10pm (AEDT), 7 days a week, to chat about any COVID-19 (coronavirus) related concerns. Click here for more information

 

Media contact: Patrick Molan 0418 173 201

As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia

 

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