An elderly care provider decided to ban all visitors to his home from preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
This is a step forward from new measures introduced by the federal government, which would limit visits to seniors’ care facilities to short visits of two people once a day.
Anyone who has stayed abroad in the past two weeks, who has been in contact with someone with symptoms of coronavirus or respiratory infection will be completely excluded.
The changes are part of a series of measures announced Wednesday by the Prime Minister and chief medical officer.
These include warning Australians against all travel abroad and banning non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.
An email from Estia general manager Ian Thornley to family and friends of residents said its facilities would close to visitors from 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“We understand that this decision will have a significant impact on our residents and their close contacts and we sincerely apologize,” he said in the email seen by AAP.
Visitors would still be allowed in “exceptional circumstances for compassionate reasons”, volunteers should also be banned from staying in Estia and non-essential outings by residents prohibited.
Estia is a commercial elderly care provider that manages nearly 70 residences in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said visits to dying relatives should be arranged with elderly care facilities.
“We all know how painful this can be and elderly care facilities will therefore be asked to make reasonable arrangements,” he said.
The Australian Federation of Nursing and Midwifery has said that the government should ban all non-essential visits to nursing homes for the aged.
Three elderly residents have already died from the virus.
“This government is completely out of touch with the reality that currently exists in nursing homes,” said Acting Federal Secretary Lori-Anne Sharp.
Senior Care Minister Richard Colbeck said children should not visit retirement homes at all to limit the spread of the virus.
“We know older Australians love to see children in their lives, but the fact is that children are unreliable when it comes to practicing the proper hygiene necessary to stop the spread,” said Senator Colbeck. .
Advice regarding nursing homes for the elderly will continue to be monitored.
Large groups, including schools, are also prohibited in nursing homes for the aged, as well as social events.
Visitors will be limited to residents’ rooms or outdoor areas, without any meeting in the common areas.
People who had not been vaccinated against influenza before May 1 will also be banned.
Morrison stressed that visitors should adopt good hygiene and social distancing measures.
Leading Age Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney says further action is inevitable.
“We need to find the right balance between compassion and care, and caution and protection,” he told AAP.
The government has lifted a 40-hour weekly work limit for international students in the elderly sector to help fill shortages of temporary workers.
Older care providers were asked to register with the Ministry of the Interior if the changes could help them.
Australian Associated Press