Confusion and concern surrounding ban on nursing home visitors

Several aged care facilities have gone further than the governments' recommendation and closed their doors to visitors as fear around the coronavirus pandemic rises.

Senior Woman Alone in Dark Room

Senior Woman Alone in Dark Room Source: E+

Aged care providers Hall and Prior, BaptistCare, Estia, Catholic Healthcare and St Basils have all closed their nursing homes to visitors.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Older Persons Advocacy Network Craig Gear says some aged care providers have imposed stricter measures than necessary and poorly communicated the changes with residents.

“Some residents have not been given the chance to raise exceptional cases for visitation,” Mr Gear said.

“People can visit in cases of end of life and palliative care, but it should be broader to include cultural support and dementia support.”

Mr Gear added that it was a prudent response to the pandemic and that some aged care providers had done well in notifying their residents.

Of the seven corona-virus related deaths in Australia, three of the of them were residents at Baptist Care’s Dorothy Henderson lodge at Macquarie Park.

Signage at the entrance of the BaptistCare Dorothy Henderson Lodge Aged Care Centre in Sydney,
Source: AAP

In a statement on Wednesday (18 March) morning, BaptistCare announced they will be closing their doors to visitors indefinitely.

“Today the government announced measures to protect aged care centres, which BaptistCare believes is a good starting point, however, we have made the decision to take additional precautions as part of our commitment to keeping our residents and loved ones safe,” the spokesperson said.

Another aged care provider, Estia announced yesterday (19 March) that it will be barring visitors from its homes to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The announcement came via email, seen by AAP, from Chief Executive Officer Ian Thornley to family and friends of residents.

“We understand that this decision will have a significant impact on our residents and their close contacts and sincerely apologise for this,” Mr Thornley said in the email.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor, don’t visit, or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

with additional reporting from AAP

Published 20 March 2020 at 4:48pm
By Ilias Bakalla