A new industry code strikes a balance between protecting aged-care home residents from COVID-19 while providing them with vital social connections and support.
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.
The Aged Care Visitor Access Code, which was first suggested by COTA Australia, was developed by 13 aged care peak bodies and consumer advocacy organisations*. It was released on Tuesday 12 May.
What does the code mean for me wanting to visit a resident in aged care?
The code puts the wishes and preferences of residents at the centre of all decision making about to who visits them. It says their choices should 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 to manage the number of visitors in their facility at any one time. This also allows staff to clean a designated visiting area in between visits.
Many aged care providers already comply with the essence of the code.
My aged care home still isn’t allowing me to visit what can I do?
The code suggests a 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 to receive support and advice from a trained advocate. OPAN will support you in speaking with the manager of the aged care home, or may with your permission contact the home on your behalf.
- If you are not happy with the decision of the home (or at any time), you can make a complaint online to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission or by calling 1800 951 822.
Review of the code
The code will be reviewed in late May. 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: AgedCareVisitorsCode@cota.org.au or call 1300 268 228.
For aged care providers and other industry stakeholders, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*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