Aged care regulator launches visitor access campaign – unannounced visits for providers where complaints about visitor restrictions are made

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As COTA warns aged care providers not to “ruin Christmas” by barring visitors, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) is sending a similar message to providers.

The Commission has begun a visitor access campaign this month, which will continue into 2021, to support the transition of the aged care sector into a COVID-normal operating environment.

The campaign will provide surveys, resources and guidance for aged care residents, their families and approved providers around managing safe visitor access.

The Commissioner, Janet Anderson PSM, has also written to all aged care providers requesting that they focus on both ensuring best practice infection prevention and supporting the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of residents by ensuring they have regular access to family and friends.

“Residents, families and the wider community expect that approved providers of residential aged care services are addressing both safety and access imperatives, and the Commission is looking for providers to demonstrate how they are reflecting this in their visitor arrangements,” she said.

Ms Anderson added that the Commission will be looking at how facilities are assessing the current risks of both COVID-19 and impact of visitor restrictions in its monitoring and assessments.

“Where visitor access risks are identified, the Commission will undertake unannounced visitor access spot checks,” she stated. “Further regulatory action may be taken to ensure that the provider is meeting their obligations under the Aged Care Quality Standards.”