South Australia relaxes its rules for visiting aged care homes – ahead of PM’s comments

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The Government has revoked its Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 2) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 put in place on 10 April and put in place new measures that suggest that some providers may have been required to turn away emergency services personnel or families from interstate because of the original direction. 

Under the new Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 3) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 – which came into effect on Tuesday at 8:45am, before the Prime Minister’s comments – there are still restrictions on entry into aged care homes. 

However, there are major changes, including: 

  • End-of-life support visits are now exempt from 14 days’ quarantine, provided visitors quarantine when not visiting the facility – this relates to interstate travellers coming to see relatives. 
  • The Chief Executive of SA Health and his delegated authorised officers can now provide conditional or unconditional exemption to the direction in exceptional circumstances. 
  • Emergency services personnel can now enter in the case of an emergency as well as people (such as SAAS and Health professionals) who may have had contact with COVID-19 positive people but were wearing appropriate PPE at that time. 

The Federal bans on more than one visit from two people per day, children aged under 16 and from 1 May, those who have not had a flu vaccination also still apply, as do the SA-only bans on aged care residents not being able to re-enter their home with some exemptions and the ban on prospective residents visiting homes. 

We put out a call to the SA Police to verify if there had been issues with families or paramedics being turned away. 

They did not respond to the direct question, but a spokesperson said: 

The changes bring clarity to circumstances when people can enter and allows for SA Health authorised officers to make decision about entry in exceptional circumstances. 

The CEO of the SA-based Helping Hand Chris Stewart had told us there was little consultation with providers on the first direction – yet another case of the Government failing to listen to providers then? 

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