Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria is urging relatives and friends of aged care residents to work together with facility management when considering visits.
‘With the increased incidence of COVID-19 in Melbourne aged-care facilities, management may move to restrict or prevent visits to residents,’ Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria CEO Tina Hogarth-Clarke said.
‘This is obviously a stressful time for everyone concerned.’
‘The welfare of residents should be at the centre of all decisions that are made. But we also understand the constraints that facility management is facing. It is a delicate balancing act.’
If an aged care home has an infectious outbreak, it is required to enact enhanced visitor restrictions meaning that no in-person visits may occur.
Ms Hogarth-Clarke urged aged care facilities to exercise compassion when applying visitor restrictions and where possible to comply with the Industry Code on Visiting Residential Aged Care.
‘The code is voluntary and provides guidance for aged-care facilities,’ Ms Hogarth-Clarke said.
‘The industry code is about establishing a framework where respectful conversations can occur.
‘In many situations decisions will have to be made on a case-by-case basis. By working with facility management, those close to residents may be able to make alternative arrangements such as Zoom meetings and window visits.
‘If you think that a facility is being overly restrictive, then I would urge you in the first instance to talk with them about the reasons for their decisions.
‘If you feel that facility management is not listening to your concerns, you can contact the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) — 1800 237 981 — or contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission — 1800 951 822.’
As well as the Industry Code, the COTA Australia website has a list of frequently asked questions about the code and its application. Comprehensive information about aged care is available at the Department of Health and Human Services website. COTA Victoria has regularly updated information about the current restrictions and where you should go for help if you need it.
‘Our Seniors Information Line also provides assistance and information,’ Ms Hogarth-Clarke said. ‘You can call us Mondays to Fridays between 9.30am and 4pm on 1300 13 50 90.’