LASA has endorsed National Cabinet’s moves to provide additional support for aged care and to form an Aged Care Advisory Group, reporting to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).

“Aged care is our biggest vulnerability in the fight against COVID-19 and it is good to see the announcement of further measures to protect older Australians in care,” said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

“The establishment of a national advisory group is part of LASA’s recent recommendations to our state and national leaders, based on the lessons learned from the fight against the coronavirus in aged care.

“LASA is looking forward to engagement with the advisory group and states and territories, as we continue working to keep older Australians safe.”

The announcement of an additional $171.5 million investment in aged care will be useful, but further detail on how this funding will protect older Australians and assist staff, providers and families is needed.

“We know that supports for some Victorian aged care homes did not go according to plan,” Mr Rooney said.

“The $81 million announced for additional surge workforce and more training for aged care workers is critical and we hope it has a rapid and practical impact.

“Funding support for residents and families experiencing trauma is vital, along with quarantine supplements for staff who travel interstate to support aged care facilities under the National Aged Care Emergency Response (NACER) program.”

Mr Rooney said the capacity to have Aged Care Response Centres established in all states and territories would provide essential support to aged care across the nation.

“These centres will be important in the fight,” he said. “We recommended these centres need to play a key role in translating national policy and guidance into state and local planning and practice.

“This means they will need to plan for outbreaks, stress test these strategies and be the single point of coordination in response to actual outbreaks.

“This includes having in place appropriate systems and processes to manage hospital transfers, surge workforce availability, and Personal Protective Equipment access and disposal.

Mr Rooney also acknowledged the Prime Minister’s words today to support and fund aged care.

“It is a national priority to protect older Australians in care from coronavirus,” he said. “There must be a clear and unambiguous commitment to resource and support aged care workers and services with all reasonable and necessary measures to protect our most at-risk Australians.

“This includes adequate supplies of PPE, paid pandemic leave, funding for additional staff and all other expenses incurred.”

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