We thank Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck and the Chief Medical Officer Prof. Brendan Murphy for joining the aged care industry in constructive dialogue in the national webinar, as we work together to care for and support vulnerable older Australians.
However, we impressed upon them that it is incorrect to characterise the sector as having kept residents isolated, under lock and key, in their rooms. Nor are they secret places.
There are widespread communications with families, visits at a distance and extensive social media connections.
It does a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of dedicated aged care staff – working on the frontline and putting their own health at risk – as they work tirelessly to keep residents safe and happy.
Our members report local surveys showing the vast majority of families support the current approach to restricted visitations by their aged care homes.
We also note considerable community concern about potentially unidentified cases and the possibility of asymptomatic cases infecting aged care homes, as we have seen overseas and in Australia.
Providers who have implemented enhanced resident protections are appealing to people to minimise visits, while providers continue their dedication to maintaining connections with their loved ones in care via a range of alternative and innovative communication channels.
In line with the national cabinet’s recommendations, visitation requests for compassionate reasons are being carefully facilitated, in close consultation with residents and families.
Our focus remains on continuing the balance of compassionate care with the protection of our residents and staff.