Residential aged care providers will benefit from an additional COVID-19 specific support package totalling $205 million, under targeted measures announced by the Australian Government.
It takes the total COVID-19 specific Federal Government funding for aged care to more than $850 million.
Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck and Federal Member for Reid Dr Fiona Martin MP, welcomed the latest injection of funds aimed at ensuring aged care providers in Reid (a suburb of Canberra) can offer reinforced levels of safety and care.
“These measures are aimed at protecting the most vulnerable people in our community,” Minister Colbeck said.
“We are facing an extraordinary health challenge and we need to work together to protect the people we love most. This is about keeping those people in residential aged care, protected and safe.”
The announcement comes as the National Cabinet assessed an aged care sector code of conduct for visitations to ensure residents can be kept safe and continue to receive the social and emotional support they need from their families at this time.
The payment – to all Commonwealth-funded residential aged care providers – will be linked to the number of residents being cared for by each facility and is aimed at covering the additional costs of caring for the health and wellbeing of residents during the pandemic.
The costs include additional staffing, training, supporting visitations and connections and the provision of personal protective equipment.
Providers will receive around $900 per resident in major metropolitan areas and around $1,350 per resident in all other areas.
Dr Martin said it was another important measure to reinforce the sector and protect loved ones. “These measures help reassure families across Reid that everything is being done to look after their loved ones during this difficult time.”
The latest round of funding follows the $235 million retention bonus paid to residential and home care workers to strengthen the workforce during the pandemic. Additionally, the funding announced in March includes $78 million for residential care to support continuity of workforce supply.
The Business Improvement Fund has also been extended for another year with $48 million in support. “This payment will ensure providers continue to invest in COVID-19 preparedness to protect the people in their care,” Dr Martin said.
“We are seeing how devastating the impact of COVID-19 can be if there is an outbreak in an aged care facility. While Australia is doing well by international comparison, we must remain vigilant to protect some of our most vulnerable Australians, particularly those in aged care.”