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The ‘Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19’ has been released by 13 aged care peak bodies and consumer advocacy organisations. The Code creates a nationally consistent approach that ensures residents can receive visitors while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The Code, a suggestion of COTA Australia, was finalised after public consultation with both consumers and aged care providers.
It cements a human rights approach to care that both protects and respects aged care residents and their visitors. The Code acknowledges the work that providers and staff are doing to keep people safe during the pandemic.
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 a way that minimises the risk of COVID-19’s introduction to, or spread within, a residential care home.
What does the Code mean for me wanting to visit a Resident in aged care?
The Code reminds all Residents and their Visitors that they can seek to arrange a visit with their local aged care home. Wishes and preferences of residents will be at the centre of all decision making in relation to who visits them, and their choices will be sought and respected, unless the visitor is prohibited under state/territory directives.
Many aged care homes are asking visitors to use a booking system in order to manage the number of visitors in their facility at any one time. This also provides the opportunity for staff to clean a designated visiting area in between visits.
Please continue to be courteous and patient when working with your local aged care home to visit a Resident in a time that is mutually convenient. It may not always be possible to secure your preferred time.
My aged care home still isn’t allowing me to visit what can I do?
The objective of the Code is to provide an agreed industry approach to ensure aged care residents are provided the opportunity to receive visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, while minimising the risk of its introduction to, or spread within, a residential care home.
If your resident is not able to receive visits, the Code includes a suggested complaint process including:
- Speak with home’s manager and be specific about A) what you’re asking for; and B) why you’re asking for it.
- If you still aren’t getting anywhere and need support, you can call Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) 1800 700 600 or visit https://opan.com.au to receive support and advice from a trained advocate if you require. OPAN will support you in speaking with the manager of the aged care home, or may with your permission contact the home to advocate on your behalf to be able to visit.
- If you are not happy with the decision of the home (or at any time), you can make a complaint to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission by calling 1800 951 822 at any time (free call) or by visiting https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/making-complaint.
Review of the Code
The Code will be reviewed in late May to address any implementation issues and ensure it will respond to current concerns.
For residents, carers, families and friends wishing to report concerns where the Code is not being effective in facilitating visits or any other feedback, please email: [email protected], or call 1300 COTA AU (1300 268 228).
For aged care providers and other industry stakeholders, please email [email protected].
Developed and Endorsed by
The Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 has been developed and endorsed by:
Consumer and Carers peak organisations
- Carers Australia
- Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia
- Dementia Australia
- Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia
- National Seniors Australia
- Older Persons Advocacy Network
Aged sector provider peak organisations
- Aged & Community Services Australia
- Aged Care Guild
- Anglicare Australia
- Baptist Care Australia
- Catholic Health Australia
- Leading Age Services Australia
- UnitingCare Australia