Throughout this global pandemic, older people need specialist services to help them stay connected with loved ones and the community.
I am calling on the government to increase funding to ensure safe visitor access in this time of crisis.
1. Unless COVID-19 is present, families should be able to visit their loved ones in aged care facilities once a day - as long as they are not sick and adhere to physical distancing rules.
Allowing families to continue visiting once a day will ensure older people stay connected with loved ones.
2. We call on the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission to immediately appoint Official Community Visitors to begin safe, random inspections of aged care facilities. Waiting until the pandemic is over is unacceptable.
This will provide a much-needed level of independent oversight to aged care facilities' day-to-day operations.
3. More qualified mental health workers should be employed in each Local Health District. These specialist health workers should run dedicated mental health programs in aged care facilities.
These programs will help older people improve and maintain their mental health during this very challenging time.
4. Funding should be made available to aged care providers that wish to introduce positions such as a specialised Visitor Concierge. This role involves a Registered Nurse welcoming and screening visitors.
This approach allows residents to stay more connected, whilst at the same time doesn’t compromise the staff and residents’ health and safety.
As always, the health and safety of older people in aged care facilities is paramount. This needs to be carefully balanced with the need for social connection as well as ensuring aged care facilities are given adequate oversight.
Please sign the petition calling for increased funding to ensure safe visitor access for older people in this time of crisis.