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Federal Government is working on national code of conduct for aged care visitations

Prime Minister (PM) Scott Morrison announced this morning that the Federal Government is working on a national code of conduct with the aged care sector that supports visitations in nursing homes without compromising the safety of residents.

The Federal Government is developing a code of conduct with the aged care sector around visitations in nursing homes. [Source: Shutterstock]

"You will be aware of the strong views the National Cabinet and I have expressed in ensuring that residents in aged care facilities are not shut away and that they do have access to their loved ones, their carers and others that provide support to them," says PM Morrison.

"There are of course legitimate reasons why there would be restrictions in aged care facilities, particularly and obviously in places where there have been outbreaks - that is sensible, that is safe, that is to be suspected. 

"But the norm should be, as the National Cabinet had set out in the health advice they adopted some weeks ago now, and it is the intention for that to be incorporated into an industry code of conduct and we are making good progress on that and I would hope that we will be in a position to finalise that by hopefully the end of the week. 

"I thank the aged care sector for their cooperation and engagement in pursuing that together with the aged care minister, Richard Colbeck, and I thank them and all the aged care workers all across the country for the work they are doing caring for our most vulnerable Australians. 

"We need to ensure we keep them safe but keep them connected because that is good for their health as well."

This announcement follows industry calls for enhanced aged care visitation protections after a sector webinar on Monday with nearly 1,000 providers and the Minister for Aged Care and Older Australians, Richard Colbeck, and Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy. 

Last week, the PM stated that the National Cabinet would intervene with the sector if aged care facilities didn't roll back any extreme visitor restrictions they may have implemented that went beyond the Government's baseline recommendations.

Some of the comments from the PM and National Cabinet angered members of the aged care sector, who are working in an essential service attempting to keep COVID-19 out of their facilities and away from vulnerable people.

The webinar and calls for enhanced aged care visitation protections from the aged care industry are a result of statements made by the Prime Minister on Friday.

For more information about the coronavirus, visit the Aged Care Guide's COVID-19 update page. 

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