Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) is urging the Federal Government to release a roadmap for the return of visitors to aged care in NSW and Victoria.
Connectivity is vital for the mental health of aged care residents, the peak body says, and providers are looking for more certainty around when facilities can reopen for visits as COVID restrictions ease.
According to Paul Sadler, CEO of ACSA (pictured), older Australians in aged care have a right to see their families, and the government has a duty to deliver a plan enabling visits.
“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.
“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,” he said.
ACSA has also called for a Federal Government focus on supporting aged care homes that are not yet at 100% vaccinated; ensuring staff receive second doses; supporting rapid antigen testing in aged care homes; and boosting home care staff vaccination rates.