“Stacks of money”: Australian academic says social distancing must continue in aged care – who will provide the funding?

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University of Sydney Associate Professor in Ageing and Health, Lee-Fay Low has told the international long-term care community that the issue of how to keep residents from being socially isolated will continue as social distancing measures stay in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in aged care homes.

“What would really help is stacks of money,” she stated. “It feels like facilities have been asked to do so much more and there’s no more money to do it… I don’t know how to solve this problem.”

Assoc. Prof. Low, who is a NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellow, and the University’s Head of Discipline, Behavioural and Social Sciences in Health, made the comments as part of a joint webinar on international responses to COVID-19 in aged care homes – the first to be held by the International Long-Term Care Policy Network established by the London School of Economics and Politic Science to coordinate findings and research from around the world.

The academic says the fact is that social distancing measures will need to stay in place to protect elderly residents.

“I don’t know who’s going to fund this but it feels like if we do want residents to live well during social distancing then someone’s got to support that somehow.”

This will go beyond the six-month mark pegged by the Government for its $850 million stimulus funding package for the sector.

Will this funding be extended to provide ‘quality of life’ to residents – the time needed to compensate for the lack of ‘touch’ available from staff, family members and friends?

Or will providers be left holding the bill?

You can watch the webinar here – Assoc. Prof. Low appears from around the 10-minute to the 22-minute mark.

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