Industry welcomes COVID plan but workforce remains key concern
The aged care sector has welcomed the federal government’s release of its Winter Plan to manage COVID-19 in aged care.
Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) interim CEO Paul Sadler said the plan was originally called for by the Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) in the wake of the Omicron wave over summer which had a tragic impact on the sector.
“While aged care providers in residential, home and community care are better prepared now compared to last year, a chief concern is workforce availability,” Sadler said.
“At the height of the Omicron wave providers had anywhere between 30% and 50% of their workforce absent due to COVID infection placing an enormous strain on remaining staff to keep caring for residents. It’s welcome news that the Australian Defence Force remains available to assist.
“The Winter Plan ensures providers are prepared and sets out provision for infection control training, for supplies of PPE, RATs and antivirals.
“However, ACCPA is concerned that some supports and public health orders are being wound back in some states and on a national level.
“The timing is especially unfortunate given the rapid escalation in the number of COVID outbreaks affecting aged care providers across the country in the past week.
“The aged care system is already under extreme pressure from COVID, so every bit of help is needed.
“It’s essential that providers are properly equipped to both protect residents but also to ensure their wellbeing by allowing regular visits from family and loved ones.”
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