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Warning: Eased restrictions could mean an aged care mess without clear National Cabinet roadmap

Release date: 12 Oct 2021

The peak body for non-for-profit aged care providers Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) has welcomed news that Victoria will mandate vaccination for all health workers including home care staff, saying it highlights the need for a consistent and clear national roadmap out of the National Cabinet for both visitation and vaccination.

ACSA is warning that without a clear national roadmap, aged care will be put into the pressure cooker of high community transmission and unclear rules - putting extreme pressure on staff, older people, and families.

ACSA CEO Paul Sadler said, “New residential care visiting guidelines, released after National Cabinet met recently, are a step in the right direction but we need better clarity and direction to keep people safe and avoid confusion. 

“At a minimum we need further rules around visitation when community transmission is high, and support for the use of rapid antigen testing.

“ACSA and our members are committed to doing our bit to provide everyone greater clarity. We are working with our consumer and provider peak colleagues to update the Industry Code for Visitation to Aged Care Homes in light of the rising rate of vaccinations in the community. 

“There are more than one million older people receiving care at home. These people need the same protection we are offering people in residential aged care.

“New rules in Victoria mandating COVID-19 vaccination for home care workers need to be rolled out nationally as soon as possible.  We welcome comments by Greg Hunt, Federal Minister for Health & Aged Care last Friday that Federal, State and Territory Governments are now considering mandating home care worker vaccinations.

“This needs to be elevated to National Cabinet so that we have a clear national roadmap covering all of aged care.

“Providers can’t just be left to make it up for themselves, we need expert health advice and the government to provide absolute clarity. This is particularly important with NSW restrictions easing this week and Victoria to follow later when health guidelines suggest it is safe,” Mr Sadler said.
 

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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