Australia

What you need to know about the government's new code for nursing home visits

A titanic tug-of-war in aged-care homes across the country has pitted stakeholders against each other for the past three months.

On one side are the care-home operators, residents, family and friends, who say visits from loved ones are necessary to provide comfort and support to residents.

Aged-care home residents often rely on social visits from family and friends.

Aged-care home residents often rely on social visits from family and friends.Credit:Stock

On the other are those saying that the risks of contracting COVID-19 are too great and we need to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

Phrases such as “breach of human rights and “duty of care is paramount” are being hurled in every direction.

To settle the argument, Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck has unveiled the Aged Care Visitors Access Code, saying it "provides an agreed approach and a clear path for providers, residents and their families during a difficult time".

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Here is what you need to know under the new provisions of the code if you want to visit a loved one in an aged-care home:

The code has not yet been set in legislation. That will be done in individual states.

However, the federal government, which controls accreditation and funding of aged-care homes, has advised providers to adhere to the code and directed people to contact aged-care advocates or the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission if they have concerns.

Rachel Lane is the principal of Aged Care Gurus and co-author of Aged Care, Who Cares? and Downsizing Made Simple

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