New Visitor Guidelines to Help Providers and Families Support Residents through Workforce Emergency

Media Release

14 February 2022

The Australian Aged Care Collaboration (AACC) and the Aged Care Reform Network (ACRN) says new interim visitation guidelines for aged care will make it easier for providers and families to support older people in residential care through the pandemic workforce emergency, which continues to devastate the sector.

The principles adopt the ‘Essential Visitor’ concept from the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes and have been approved on the recommendation of AHPPC following input from providers and consumer advocates.

Severe workforce shortages continue to leave unfilled shifts, making the management of visits and basic services extremely difficult.

The new guidelines will help bring some clarity to ongoing decisions about the balance between doing all we can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections, whilst ensuring residents’ wellbeing through appropriate social supports.

Providers have welcomed the new guidelines. We have been seeking a change to the guidelines so State and Territory Public Health Units can better balance infection control with the mental health and wellbeing of residents.

We urge the State and Territory Health Departments to move promptly to implement the National Cabinet approval of the new guidelines.

The AACC and its members will work hard to ensure that all staff and families are aware of them so that older people in residential care can be given the best possible support through this emergency.