Australia’s two largest aged care bodies say they will work closely with government to finalise and implement important new COVID-19 control measures for outbreaks in aged care facilities, but say more clarity is required.
Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) have asked the government to clarify details of the new measures, in particular with regards to resourcing.
“The announcement has a number of measures designed to keep residents in aged care facilities safe and well but it doesn’t address all of the issues providers are facing as they continue to battle COVID-19,” said LASA in a statement.
“This is a high stakes issue due to the vulnerable people we care for,” it said.
It said that in hotspot areas, movement of people must be kept to a minimum to minimise the risk of infection.
“This presents a significant challenge for aged care as many of our passionate staff work at more than one location.”
“The new principles must ensure that no worker is disadvantaged and that providers are given the financial and other support necessary to fill shifts and keep their residents safe.”
It said providers would work constructively with the government to ensure the right balance is struck.
“When an outbreak occurs in an aged care facility it requires the full support of the health system,” said LASA.
“Aged care homes are not hospitals and cannot provide that level of disease control or treatment. It’s good to see that the government has recognised this and will utilise private hospitals for both treatment and isolation purposes.
“Older people deserve the same level of respect and treatment as younger people. For people to be denied hospital treatment based on age is simply wrong.”