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OCAV gives cautious welcome to Royal Commission COVID-19 report

October 5, 2020

Phillip Wohlers, Chief Executive Officer, said that while the recommendations were sound, ensuring the Federal Government acts on its pledge to implement them is another issue.

The six recommendations include: more funding for staff, a national aged care plan for COVID-19, better infection control and training, and improved access to allied health and mental health services for aged care residents.

The Commissioners also called on the Federal Government to report on the implementation of the recommendations by 1 December, a point welcomed by OCAV which says it is not just about action but also to learn the lessons.

“It has taken a vicious virus which, like water, has an ability to find the slightest cracks and leach into them. These cracks have been there for years, and the reality is that the Government is now playing catch up on issues which have been endemic in the aged care system for a decade, worsened by a shortage and casualisation of the aged care workforce,” Mr Wohlers said.

In its July 2020 submission, OCAV urged an end to the confused and inconsistent messages from all governments in its submission and the need for a COVID-19 focused aged care plan rather than a plan which has been adapted to aged care.

“These shortcomings have contributed to the traumatisation of the aged care workforce which has worked tirelessly since the start of the pandemic,” Mr Wohlers said.

OCAV recommends that further discussion is needed about those aged care homes that have managed well throughout the pandemic as there is a need to learn from successes rather than focus always on the shortfalls.

Mr Wohlers paid tribute to staff at Liscombe House which from March 2020 had started planning in case of a COVID-19 outbreak. The plans included zoning the aged care home, putting in place activities across the three wings, regular communication with families.

“At the heart of our planning was our concern to balance protection and the wellbeing of our residents and staff,” he said.


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