Aged care home changes during COVID-19
Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist
Hello, I’m Norman Swan and I’m here to chat to you about some of the changes taking place around your aged care home due to the COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19 is an illness that spreads very easily and often has symptoms similar to the flu. [And] like the flu, anyone can get this virus and some people are more likely to become very sick if they have it, including older people or people who already have an ongoing medical condition.
Movement & living arrangements
To keep everyone safe from COVID-19 there have been some restrictions put in place on your usual living arrangements. I understand these restrictions can be frustrating and challenging at times but as we continue to move through this situation as a society and begin moving back to normal, it’s important that we keep safety as a top priority.
Unfortunately, most facilities have had to make some changes to having visitors which means your family and friends might not be able to visit you as often as they usually do, or in the same way. Your family and friends might now have to make a booking with your aged care home before they visit, and being in person might mean they have to be a further distance away than they would normally.
Your family & friends might need to make a booking with your aged care home before they visit. They might also catch up with you by using technology such as a phone or an iPad instead of visiting you in person. These changes help to avoid the risk of the virus spreading to your family and friends and also prevents them spreading the virus if they happen to be carrying it.
Your rights & how to get help
Even though there might be a lot of things changing in your home you still have the same rights as always and its important that those rights are not forgotten.
Download your free copy of the Charter of Aged Care Rights Website: agedcare.health.gov.au.
Organisations across the entire aged care sector have joined together to create the Industry Code for Visiting residential Aged Care Homes.
This Code aims to uphold the rights of older people while also keeping safety around COVID-19 as a priority. For more information on the Code, or if you have concerns about the way your aged care provider is implementing this You can contact OPAN at 1800 700 600.
And did you know that aged care advocates are also available to help you?
- OPAN 1800 700 600
- Available 6am-10pm
During this time, it’s really important that older people and their families know that there are people and organisations available to help you. Aged care advocates are particularly helpful, as they can work with you and your family to make sure your voice is heard.
Support for visitors access code
1. Talk to your provider.
2. Seek advocacy support such as OPAN on 1800 700 600 or visit opan.com.au.
3. Contact the Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission on 1800 951 822 or visit agedcarequality.gov.au
They can help you in understanding your rights and getting additional supports during COVID-19, and they can help you in understanding the Industry Code for Visiting Aged Care Homes.
Aged care advocates are independent from aged care providers and government, and work at your direction. The Older Persons Advocacy Network, or OPAN for short, is a national network of aged care advocates. OPAN provides free, confidential information, education and advocacy support.
If you’re concerned about the changes in the facility or would like further support you can call 1800 700 600 or ask the staff to put you in contact with OPAN. A friendly staff member from OPAN will be able to help you resolve any issues you’re having in relation to your aged care.
OPAN logo 1800 700 600 Available 6am-10pm Opan.com.au
We all know [that] this [is] can be a very challenging time, and we thank you for your patience as we all work together to keep everyone healthy. We’re in this together, we’re all here to help.
Proudly presented by OPAN Opan.com.au 1800 700 600
Reproduced with kind permission from OPAN (Older Persons Advocacy Network).
Last Reviewed: 20/07/2020
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Aged care advocates can work with you and your family to make sure your voice is heard. They can help you understand your rights and get additional supports during COVID-19.