Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) is joining aged care peak bodies in calling for nationally coordinated health system protocols to protect the rights of older Australians and the proud and passionate staff who care for them.

“Our aged care providers and staff remain on the frontline, doing all they can to save lives,” said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

“They must be supported by governments and health authorities with adequate staffing, funding, PPE and health system coordination to maximise the safety of older people from COVID-19.

“LASA is saddened by the tragic situation at Newmarch House and we feel for the families who want and deserve answers to their concerns.

“There have been many learnings from all outbreaks in aged care. Our sector needs answers to ensure any failures are identified and mitigated in the future.”

All losses from COVID-19 are tragic and aged care providers across Australia are working tirelessly to address risks and to avoid the degree of loss that other countries have experienced.

Key to this is ensuring older Australians have access to appropriate hospital care.

“People in aged care facilities who test positive must be permitted to transfer to hospitals, where lifesaving care and infection quarantine facilities are available,” Mr Rooney said.

“Age discrimination must not apply to the healthcare of older people, who are most at risk from coronavirus.

“Furthermore, in the event that a resident tests positive to COVID-19 consideration must be given to the risk of infection to other residents and staff and the option of transfer to hospital for treatment and quarantine control.”

This has been the case in other residential care locations where there have been reported COVID19 infections.

Aged care facilities are not hospitals and most do not have the capacity to provide acute care, without respirators or intensive care units. The designs of aged care home can also make quarantining difficult.

“The aged care sector calls for all jurisdictions to follow the example of South Australia, where there is a commitment to transfer aged care residents to hospitals to give them the best chance of survival, which also limits the risk of COVID19 infection to other vulnerable residents and staff,” Mr Rooney said.

“Aged care and health care responses must be linked, so the rights of older people are respected.”

About Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)

LASA is the national association for all providers of age services across residential care, home care and retirement living/seniors housing. Our purpose is to enable high performing, respected, and sustainable age services that support older Australians to age well by providing care, support and accommodation with quality, safety and compassion – always.

We represent providers of age services of all types and sizes located across Australia’s metropolitan, regional and rural areas. Consistent with the overall industry profile, 56% of our Members are not-for-profit providers, 36% are for-profit providers and 8% are government providers.

Our diverse and representative membership gives LASA the ability to speak with credibility and authority on issues of importance to older Australians and the age services industry.

Contact: Nick Way 0419 835 449 nickw@lasa.asn.au