Welfare checks for older Australians

Many older Australians have chosen to defer aged care home services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But they will not “fall through the cracks”, says Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck, who announced that regular welfare checks would be conducted on home care recipients who had suspended services to avoid the risk of contracting the virus.

The checks will come in the form of phone calls to ensure their wellbeing and is another measure to ensure seniors received the support they need during this difficult time.

“We don’t want people to fall through the cracks,” said Mr Colbeck.

“Elderly people who receive home care visits are often extremely vulnerable.

“It’s clear some senior Australians are anxious about the risks of visits from providers.

“Of course, it’s their choice to receive or not receive care, but we remain determined to ensure those who need support are still receiving it.

“Care providers are trained in infection control to help stop the spread of coronavirus and protect clients in their care.

“All the proper procedures are being put in place to ensure the highest level of protection.”

The minister said the government was also working with a number of consumer organisations in order to provide the additional supports.

“From today, OPAN (Older Persons Advocacy Network) will be able to receive referrals from home care and CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program) providers where the client or their family are reducing or cancelling services due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Colbeck said.

He said referrals could also be made for people needing extra support as a result of the restrictions.

“The aged care provider has a responsibility to notify the care recipient or family of the referral to the Older Persons Advocacy Network and that they will receive a call back,” he said. 

“The welfare of people in care is our absolute priority and I’m determined to ensure they can continue to access the services they need.”

The government has also released additional resources to assist older people throughout the pandemic, including videos and helpful information sheets about:

  • what COVID-19 is
  • how it is spread
  • symptoms
  • who needs to get tested
  • risk to older people
  • whether to go out
  • getting other vaccinations
  • what it means for recipients of Home Care Packages
  • how to get medical services
  • visiting friends and family
  • wearing masks
  • getting help
  • suspicious messages about COVID-19
  • arrangements for cancelled events or holidays

Additional information and resources can be found here.

If anyone you know needs support, they should be encouraged to contact OPAN on 1800 700 600.

Do you feel that you have enough support at the moment?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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