For over a year now, COTA Australia has been campaigning to protect the mental health and social connections of aged care residents. Everyone has a right to be protected from COVID-19. But in some cases paternalistic nursing home managers put that right above all others, and residents were cut off from family for months. Social isolation has terrible consequences on mental health, and often causes rapid decline in general health.
Last year, in partnership with other consumer and carer advocates, we led the creation of the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19. Negotiated with aged care provider representatives, and endorsed by National Cabinet, it helped in many cases, but not all.
Now, as Australia achieves its vaccination goals, we have been working to revise the Code, and we need your help.
The endorsing organisations have agreed to a public consultation, and we need your wisdom, and your voice.
We have advocated for a nominated “Essential Visitor” to be chosen by the resident. That person will be able to get in, even during a lock down. Is this the right way to go?
Older people have a right to be protected from COVID-19, and they’ve got a right to mental health and family connection too.
Ian Yates AM