What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 (also referred to as coronavirus or novel coronavirus) is a respiratory illness that was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China and has since spread globally. There are currently confirmed cases of COVID-19 in nearly all Australian states and territories and the situation is changing rapidly. COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person and symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Current information about COVID-19 shows the majority of people infected have a mild form of the illness, however older people are at much greater risk of serious illness.
For non-English speakers or if English is a second language, please contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) if would like assistance with understanding this information via https://www.tisnational.gov.
Protect yourself, your family and your community
Special Edition Webinars
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has created significant uncertainty in Australia, especially in aged care. There is a lot of fear surrounding COVID-19, and the situation is moving rapidly. The Australian Government has recently imposed restrictions on aged care visitation, and some providers have introduced further measures to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is contained.
OPAN acknowledges the need for clear, concise and up to date information during this time. That is why we are running webinars to inform people about how COVID-19 impacts aged care.
Industry code for visiting residential aged care homes during COVID-19
The Industry Code for Visiting Resident Aged Care Homes during COVID-19 has been developed to ensure a nationally consistent visitation policy to residential aged care homes during the COVID-19 crisis. The Code aims to apply a compassionate and consistent visitor policy that continues to minimise the risk of COVID-19 while providing innovative on-site visiting solutions to maintain the mental health of residents.
The draft Code was developed and endorsed by consumer advocacy organisations Carers Australia, Council on the Ageing Australia, Dementia Australia, National Seniors Australia and the Older Persons Advocacy Network and aged care provider peak bodies Aged & Community Services Australia, Aged Care Guild, Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, and UnitingCare Australia.
As part of the Code’s development, a draft version was released for public consultation. As part of this consultation process, we co-hosted a webinar with COTA Australia, Dementia Australia and National Seniors Australia on Wednesday 7 May 2020, to hear views on the Code from aged care residents, families, families of choice, friends, and aged care providers and staff.
Following the finalisation of the Code on Monday 11 May, we co-hosted a second webinar about the Code, which gave the community an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback, ahead of the review of the Code. The review of the Code will take place on Friday 29 May, to address any implementation issues and ensure it responds to current concerns.
How can OPAN help?
As an older person receiving aged care services, family member, or carer you may have questions and concerns about the implications of COVID-19.
We are here to help. Please call us on 1800 237 981, 6am-10pm (AEDT), 7 days a week or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to us about any issues or concerns you have in relation to COVID-19 or if you need help engaging with your aged care provider.
* Information updated 11 May 2020