Government forms aged care response centre

Centre to assist with growing crisis of COVID-19 cases in aged care facilities. 

The Federal Government has established an aged care response centre to assist with the growing crisis of COVID-19 cases in aged care facilities.

The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre will bring together federal and state government agencies at the state control centre in Melbourne in a co-ordinated effort to manage the impact of the pandemic across facilities.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt and Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said the Federal Government-led centre would offer a clear and direct oversight to managing outbreaks.

The centre is supported by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Victoria, Emergency Management Australian (EMA) and Emergency Management Victoria (EMV).

“This co-ordinated approach will not just prioritise the quality of care and protection of residents but it will also ensure rapid and effective responses for providers and ensure communication with families” Hunt said.

The centre will be led by an executive team including clinical and operational leads. It will include staff from Department of Health, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, DHHS, EMA, EMV and Defence.

In addition there will be stakeholder liaison arrangements with Older Persons Advisory Network, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Australian Medical Association, Leading Aged Services Australia, Aged and Community Services Australia, the Aged Care Guild, Seniors Australia, Dementia Australia and Council Of The Ageing.

Colbeck said the co-ordinated response offered an additional layer of confidence for residents in aged care, families and staff during an unprecedented time.

“We stand ready to offer the support needed to protect senior Australians, their families and care providers in what is the greatest challenge the sector has faced,” Minister Colbeck said.

“We are listening and understand the complex issues that lay ahead. Together we can ensure provisions are in place to reinforce the sector at every level and ultimately protect the lives of those people we care for most.”

Additional resources include undertaking a process for staff to work at a single site to minimise COVID-19 spread, disbursement of PPE, testing in facilities where positive cases are identified and additional testing in areas identified as high risk.

As of 28 July 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria is 9049 with 384 new cases. Of the new cases, 78 are linked to outbreaks or complex cases and 306 are under investigation. The state also recorded six new deaths, taking the total number of deaths to 83.

There are 4,775 cases currently active in Victoria. 3,937 people have recovered. More than 1,536,600 test results have been processed by the department since 1 January 2020.

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