Aug 23, 2020

Latest boost is just more life support, we need to address prevention

The peak body for non-profit aged care providers Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) says the latest increase in federal funds is welcome to provide support where there are outbreaks but won’t do enough to prevent them

“Any additional investment is obviously very welcome but we need to see big changes to prevent outbreaks,” ACSA CEO Patricia Sparrow said.

“While there is community transmission we can’t guarantee cases won’t get into aged care but our policies should aim for this and support early intervention.

“The better alternative is the kind of investment that will save lives and health budgets.

“The latest announcement of funds is just another stopgap. It is not enough to act as a prevention measure. It’s just more of the same drip-feed that’s kept aged care on life support even prior to the pandemic.

“A national aged care advisory group could be another step forward but only if it ensures resources like infection control experts as they have in hospitals and increases staff. Undertaking audits and reviews is not an end in itself.

“Community transmission is the enemy of aged care and it is going to continue for some time. Once a single case gets into a facility it can be impossible to contain.

“All states and the federal government must implement specific aged care policies that are about prevention instead of just responding to disaster when it has already occurred.

“Many state governments are maintaining a failed policy to keep first cases of COVID-19 within the aged care setting.

“Aged care homes are not hospitals. They aren’t staffed like hospitals. They are not funded like hospitals. They are homes,” Ms Sparrow said.

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