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Clear roadmap for NSW aged care visitation welcome but national policy critical - ACSA

Release date: 29 Sep 2021

The peak body for not-for-profit aged care providers Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) says the NSW roadmap for visitation in residential aged care must be emulated nationally. The National Cabinet must set a policy which is applied consistently across all States and Territories.

ACSA welcomes the NSW Government’s announcement that double vaccinated people will be able to visit loved ones in aged care homes from 11 October.

ACSA CEO Paul Sadler said, “Additional protections will be necessary when there are high levels of COVID-19 community transmission. In particular, we advocate for providing of Rapid Antigen Tests to give extra protection for residents, staff and visitors.”

ACSA says it will continue to lobby governments to have a clear policy for how visitation in aged care will work when the virus is in the community but with high vaccination rates and low restrictions.

“Older people shouldn’t be left out of the roadmap out of lockdown. Older Australians in aged care have suffered through various types of lockdown for the longest period and we can’t just treat them like an afterthought,” Mr Sadler said.

“We need public health experts at the highest level to set a policy that balances all the pandemic risks against the absolutely critical need for social and personal support from family and friends.

“These are extremely difficult choices, because an outbreak in a residential home can be deadly and very hard on all residents and staff. This is the case even now that we are almost fully vaccinated in residential aged care.

“When restrictions start to ease, cases in the community will go up. That puts residential aged care at increased risk.

“All governments must have a clear policy and plan for our visitation in aged care that will work when the virus is in the community but we have high vaccination rates.”

Mr Sadler concluded, “We await the details of the NSW public health order which will enable visitation to recommence. ACSA is also keen to see Federal and State Governments resource aged care homes adequately to support safe visitation.”
 

Media contact: Zerene Catacutan 0422 815 248

 

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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