The Australian Government is establishing a Victorian Aged Care Response Centre to co-ordinate and expand resources to tackle the challenge of COVID-19 in age care services.
The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre will bring together Commonwealth and State government agencies at the State Control Centre in Melbourne in a co-ordinated effort to manage the impact of the pandemic across facilities.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt and Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said the Federal Government-led centre would offer a clear and direct oversight to managing outbreaks.
Supported by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Victoria, Emergency Management Australian (EMA) and Emergency Management Victoria (EMV), the response centre will offer a scalable and coordinated response mechanism as we continue to respond to the pandemic.
“This co-ordinated approach will not just prioritise the quality of care and protection of residents but it will also ensure rapid and effective responses for providers and ensure communication with families” Minister Hunt said.
The Response Centre will be led by an executive team including clinical and operational leads, enabling a rapid response as required.
It will include staff from Department of Health, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, DHHS, EMA, EMV and Defence.
In addition there will be stakeholder liaison arrangements with Older Persons Advisory Network, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Australian Medical Association, Leading Aged Services Australia, Aged and Community Services Australia, the Aged Care Guild, Seniors Australia, Dementia Australia and Council Of The Ageing.
Minister Colbeck said the co-ordinated response offered an additional layer of confidence for residents in aged care, families and staff during an unprecedented time.
“We stand ready to offer the support needed to protect senior Australians, their families and care providers in what is the greatest challenge the sector has faced,” Minister Colbeck said.
“We are listening and understand the complex issues that lay ahead. Together we can ensure provisions are in place to reinforce the sector at every level and ultimately protect the lives of those people we care for most.”
The Commonwealth is already providing a surge workforce and supplementation support of more than 450 in aged care facilities.
Additional resources include undertaking a process for staff to work at a single site to minimise COVID-19 spread, disbursement of PPE, testing in facilities where positive cases are identified and additional testing in areas identified as high risk.