Friday , 24 September 2021

$1.3 billion intervention needed

Aged care providers are pleading for a $1.3 billion federal rescue package to keep the sector afloat as they shoulder the cost of keeping residents and home care recipients safe from COVID-19, The Age reports.

The call came as Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly backed calls for casual workers – who make up the bulk of the aged care workforce – to be supported to stay home when sick.

Unions have warned that casual workers may feel they have no other option but to go to work with cold-like symptoms.

Providers say measures to contain the spread of the virus such as employing concierges to enforce strict visitation rules and price rises for personal protective equipment are hitting already stretched budgets.

“We need an emergency intervention to ensure we can stay open and continue to keep people safe,” Aged and Community Services Australia chief executive Pat Sparrow told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “We are already under pressure. There are additional costs to us of keeping people safe and that’s what we want to do.”

She said many providers were paying their casual workers to stay home when they were unwell, even though they were not entitled to sick leave, but could not afford to keep doing so.

Unions have warned that casual workers may feel they have no other option but to go to work with cold-like symptoms.

Along with the Aged Care Guild, Anglicare, Baptistcare, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia and UnitingCare, Ms Sparrow called for a support package for the sector including at least $250 million for home care and $546 million for residential care.

The sector also wants $500 million for IT upgrades and training to help aged care recipients connect with loved ones to “reduce isolation and loneliness”, and an uncapped workforce fund to support workers who needed to isolate.

FULL STORY

Aged care sector pleads for $1.3b emergency intervention (The Age)

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