SAFETY: Western Downs Regional Council are helping to ensure their aged care facilites are safe.
SAFETY: Western Downs Regional Council are helping to ensure their aged care facilites are safe.

PM: Aged care homes going too far

The Prime Minister said National Cabinet was "very concerned" about restrictions in place in some aged care facilities which go "above what was recommended".

"There is great concern that the isolation of elderly people in residential care facilities, where they have been prevented from having any visitors from loved ones and support people, is not good for their wellbeing, is not good for their health, and so the National Cabinet decision was to not shut people off or to lock them away in their rooms. That was never the recommendation, nor the advice of the National Cabinet," Mr Morrison said.

"I think the advice was very clear about ensuring that there could be visits of two per day, close relatives and support people, and this would be undertaken in the residents' rooms. But otherwise residents would be able to be in other parts of the facility.

"We would like as many freedoms to be extended to residents in aged care facilities as possible, and there is no recommendation from the medical expert panel that they should be confined in such a way.

"Where further restrictions should be put in place in aged care facilities is where you may have an outbreak in that facility, or an outbreak in the area in which the facility is located."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Gary Ramage
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Gary Ramage

Chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy echoed Mr Morrison's comments on this issue.

"We are all concerned about the terrible tragedies that happen when you have a big aged care outbreak, and of course we understand the need to protect the residents. And that protection is best achieved by ensuring that nobody, nobody, enters an aged care facility if they are in any way unwell," Prof Murphy said.

"You do not go to an aged care facility if you have the slightest respiratory symptom. You stay away.

"But as the Prime Minister said, it is not reasonable in a situation as we are in across pretty much the whole country, when community outbreaks are not in existence, to lock poor residents away from their families.

"It's not reasonable or fair to people who may have been used to getting their family coming every day, who may even have dementia in some cases, to be denied access to their families.

"So we are encouraging more providers to be proportionate. Of course protect the residents, of course screen everybody who comes into the facility, but don't lock residents away from their family."