The peak body for non-profit aged care providers Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has released new Essential polling showing that a significant majority of Australians (69%) support aged care homes limiting visitors in order to protect older Australians from COVID-19. Only 10% oppose visitor bans.
This poll was conducted by Essential Research. The survey was conducted online from 30th April 2020 to 3rd May 2020 and is based on 1,093 respondents.
“Australia can be proud of our management of COVID-19 but we can’t get blasé about aged care because this is where our most vulnerable people live,” said Patricia Sparrow, CEO of ACSA.
“At the top of our minds is the need to balance prevention of outbreaks with emotional care and compassion. Mental and spiritual health is just as important, and providers know better than anyone that getting that balance right is very difficult but very important.
“The first priority of providers is to protect the older people in our care. Many providers have made difficult decisions to prevent visitors because visitors increase the chance of exposure to COVID-19.
“We are working through a range of issues with the government and consumer peak organisations negotiating a visitor access code to ensure consistency and clarity. This polling will be a valuable input to that collaborative process.
“Aged care, government, and consumer peaks are working hard to negotiate consistent guidelines that will prevent the tragic tsunami of outbreaks we’ve seen in aged care homes overseas.
“The UK estimates around 20% of their homes have outbreaks. In Belgium, Italy, Spain, Norway, Canada and more – aged care accounts for more than 50% of all coronavirus deaths.
“In most cases, visitors are understanding of the restrictions and we continue to ask for that understanding. We are also appealing to all Australians to do everything possible to protect older people and to reach out to support them by picking up the phone,” Ms Sparrow said.
Photo Credit – iStock –byryo