The Aged Care Royal Commissioners, the Honourable Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs AO, have prepared this special report on the COVID-19 pandemic in aged care.
The report is the result of a hearing of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety into the impact of COVID-19 on aged care, which was held in Sydney from 10 to 13 August 2020.
It is appropriate to release this special report now because, although no-one knows how long the pandemic will last, aged care residents continue to suffer and, tragically, more may die as a result of COVID-19. There is too much at stake to apportion blame at this time. However, the public needs to know what lessons have been, and can still be, learnt.
- The Australian government should fund providers to ensure there are adequate staff available to deal with external visitors to enable a greater number of more meaningful visits between people receiving care and their loved ones.
- The Australian government should create Medicare Benefits Schedule items to increase the provision of allied health and mental health services to people living in residential aged care during the pandemic to prevent deterioration in their physical and mental health.
- The Australian government should publish a national aged care plan for COVID-19 and establish a national aged care advisory body.
- The Australian government should require providers to appoint infection control officers and should arrange for the deployment of accredited infection prevention and control experts into residential aged care homes.