19 October 2022
National Carers Week (16–22 October) is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the work of the many Australians who provide care and support for loved ones accessing aged care services.
It is also a timely reminder of the importance of social engagement and close relationships for the health and wellbeing of aged care residents.
Coinciding with National Carers Week, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has launched new interactive online learning modules to support families and friends of aged care residents to continue to provide care and companionship as a ‘partner in care’. Updated resources are also available to encourage and help aged care providers to establish ‘Partnerships in care’ programs at their services.
A partner in care may help with a range of different activities, even during periods of an infectious disease outbreak. This could include participation in exercise, assistance with meals, leisure activities, companionship, conversation and social engagement or support for someone who is nearing the end of their life.
The Commission’s updated resources build on the relaxation of public health advice about visitation access for aged care residents, along with the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes During COVID-19 and the Interim Guidance on Managing Public Health Restrictions on Residential Aged Care Facilities.
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson said, “Social engagement and continuity of close relationships have a profoundly positive effect on the wellbeing of aged care residents.”
When there is an infectious disease outbreak at an aged care service, providers have responsibilities to ensure that people in their care are safe, and they must do this in a way that upholds the rights of residents and their families.
“A Partnerships in care program can help residential aged care providers to uphold the rights of residents, ensuring that they can continue to be supported by someone they choose for care and companionship, while also helping the provider to appropriately manage risks associated with an infectious disease outbreak at a service,” Ms Anderson said.
The Commission’s Partnerships in care online resources include information for partners in care on infection prevention and control before, during and after a visit to a service, along with information on approaching an aged care service about establishing a Partnerships in care program.
For providers, resources include a factsheet and toolkit to help them to establish a Partnerships in care program at their service and to manage their risks and responsibilities.
The Partnerships in care resources are available on the Commission’s website at: www.agedcarequality.gov.au/resources/partnerships-in-care.
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