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Thursday, December 7, 2023

ACSA wants Federal Govt to provide detailed plan for restart of aged care visits

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Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) is calling on the Federal Government to provide aged care residents, their loved ones, friends and staff with reasonable certainty and release its roadmap for opening up aged care visitation in NSW and Victoria.

ACSA CEO Paul Sadler said aged care providers and staff understood better than most the importance of connectivity for the mental health and wellbeing of aged care residents.

“Older Australians in aged care have a human right to see their families while maintaining their safety and protection, and it is the Government’s job to deliver a plan to make this possible,” Sadler said.

“Aged care providers can’t be expected to just make the rules up as we go along. We need the best health advice and government to put a framework around these difficult decisions.

Sadler said the Federal Government has the responsibility for setting guidelines that aged care providers must abide by in terms of the rules governing visitors, including current restrictions in NSW and Melbourne.

“They must work closely with State Governments who issue the public health orders that apply during outbreaks.

“We are all looking forward to the day when restrictions are eased and things open up for more visits from loved ones and friends.”

ACSA is calling for more urgency from Government in setting the course for returning visitors to all aged care facilities and the advice on how all involved balance those visits with safety for residents, staff and other visitors.

“We note reports in the media that Senator Colbeck, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, has asked the aged care advisory group to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee to examine this issue. 

“We urge National Cabinet to consider its advice promptly.

“Many aged care facilities and staff members have been innovative in the ways they’re keeping people connected, now we need a Government plan that provides certainty and a roadmap for opening up visitation,” he said.

ACSA also wants the Federal Government to focus on four additional priorities:

  • Ensure there is a robust process in place to support any aged care homes who haven’t yet achieved 100 per cent staff vaccinations;
  • Turn attention to ensuring second doses are administered to all residential care staff who need them;
  • Improve protection even further by supporting uptake of Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) by aged care homes; and
  • Help boost vaccination rates among home care staff to better protect the more than 1 million older Australians using home care and home support services.
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