Thursday, May 23, 2024

Call for nationwide policy for aged care COVID patients

Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) has welcomed the Queensland Government’s move to expedite hospital transfers for COVID-19 patients in aged care and has called for the policy to be adopted Australia-wide.

“South Australia has led the way and we commend Queensland for adopting this humane and protective policy which lifts confidence in the care of the most vulnerable to coronavirus,” said LASA CEO, Sean Rooney.

“We also welcome Queensland Health’s close and continuing consultation with peak aged care organisations and providers, to help ensure the practical application of transfers of the first resident or residents infected with COVID-19 out of residential care.”

Mr Rooney said Queensland health authorities had already acted in a responsible way during the COVID-19 scare at the Rockhampton Nursing Home in May.

“We saw 39 of the most at-risk residents transferred to private hospitals, to reduce the danger of them contracting coronavirus,” he said.

“While this was a pre-emptive move, it is now heartening to see that Queensland authorities are building a strategy to save lives and reduce the spread of infections based on lessons learned.”

He said with COVID-19 community spread the greatest risk for aged care homes, moving cases out of residential care was “totally focused on saving lives”.

“This needs to be one of the measures adopted by all states, to make keeping older Australians in care safe from coronavirus a national priority,” said Mr Rooney.

“Older Australians must have the same right to access hospital care as any other person in the community, particularly given they are a higher‐risk due to their age and underlying health concerns.

“Aged care facilities are not hospitals and they do not have the skills, equipment or funding to provide hospital grade care.”

“We re-iterate our calls for all jurisdictions to adopt South Australia’s and Queensland’s transfer strategy.”

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