Visiting loved ones in residential aged care at Christmas
COVID-19 remains a serious concern in residential aged care homes across Australia this Christmas, once again.
As at 14 December, there were 2,126 active cases of COVID-19 in residential aged care homes with active outbreaks in 324 residential aged care facilities, with 137 new outbreaks, 17 new resident deaths and 1,774 combined new resident and staff cases reported since 7 December.
Obviously, stay home if you have any cold or flu symptoms. This is to help protect other people.
Before you visit a loved one
Always be up to date with the advice for residential aged care facilities on the appropriate State and Territory Government's website. Also, contact the facility to check if visiting arrangements have changed.
Do not enter the facility if you have
- tested positive to COVID-19. Visitors should not enter a high risk setting for at least 7 days after their positive test. Stay home and follow the advice for people testing positive.
- any cold or flu symptoms.
- Aged and disability care facilities may ask you to take additional precautions while visiting such as wearing a mask or doing a rapid antigen test.
Exceptions apply, such as if you are a resident at the facility, or you have permission from the facility to visit in exceptional circumstances (e.g. end-of-life visits).
Saviour Buhagiar, Uniting’s Director of Seniors Services, said they adopt the guidelines provided by NSW Health.
"Vaccination remains a critical tool in reducing transmission and minimising the severity of COVID-19 infections. It is essential for protecting the health and wellbeing of residents, especially given the vulnerability of people living in our aged care homes," Saviour said.
"Currently in our Sydney services and other homes across the State we are asking staff and visitors to both wear masks when in close contact with residents, and to undertake regular RAT tests prior to entering our homes.
"We adapt the preventative measures implemented in each home based on own risk assessment and guidance from health authorities. Our approach is focussed on maintaining as safe an environment as possible for residents and staff, whilst recognising that our services are people’s homes."
Keeping a loved one in aged care safe over Christmas
- Stay up to date with your recommended vaccinations launch, including COVID-19 and flu.
- Wear a mask.
- Frequently wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub (sanitiser).
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissues or a flexed elbow. Wash or sanitise your hands and dispose of tissues in a bin immediately.
- Hold visits outdoors or in well-ventilated areas away from other residents if possible.
Agedcare101 wishes everyone working in residential aged care and all residents in residential aged care a safe and enjoyable Christmas.