The peak bodies and consumer groups that represent the aged care sector have released their finalised industry code for guiding providers through the coronavirus pandemic and allowing families to be reunited with loved ones.
The sector has been divided on the restrictions mandated by the federal government, with some providers going further than instructed and essentially locking residents down entirely.
While some of the peaks have said provider vigilance protect the vulnerable elderly population others, such as COTA, claim that some homes are violating resident’s human rights.
Over the last few weeks, 13 aged care peak bodies and consumer advocacy organisations have come together to produce an industry code of conduct that aims to give “a nationally consistent approach that ensures residents can receive visitors while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19”.
The code, released on Tuesday, has no grounding in law and providers are only advised to adhere to it. The individual states are the authority who can decide to bring the code into law and as yet none have decided to do so.
The Code includes the respective rights and responsibilities of providers, residents and visitors. It outlines that homes should allow residents to meet their visitors in ways that minimise the risk of COVID-19’s introduction to, or spread within, a residential care home.
The peak bodies say that the code will be reviewed after three weeks to “address any implementation issues and ensure it will respond to current concerns”.
The minister for aged care, Richard Colbeck, welcomed the introduction of the code as it lays out the responsibility of providers and a clear path for the navigation of this contentious issue.
“Ensuring the health and wellbeing of Senior Australians remains our number one responsibility,” he said.
“As restrictions start to ease, care needs to be taken by all in the interests of aged care residents, providers and visitors alike.”
Colbeck warned that lockdowns may still be put in place if outbreaks occur, but otherwise it is not reasonable to keep residents locked away from their families.
“I have seen great examples of aged care providers who are using sometimes quite innovative solutions, to facilitate communications between residents and their families,” the minister said.
“The Aged Care Visitor Code is a clear example of what can be achieved when representatives across the sector come together for the benefit of those we are caring for.”
You can find the code here:
or here: http://agedservices.asn.au/.Do you have an idea for a story?
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