Australia

Aged care visitor limits ease before Christmas

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More people will be able to visit loved ones in aged care facilities this Christmas, with the two-visitor rule removed from tomorrow (Tuesday).

The public health order covering the aged care sector has been updated and the changes will take effect from the beginning of Tuesday, 15 December.

NSW Health’s Director of Aged Care, Stefanie Williams said there would now be no limit on the number of people allowed to visit each resident.

“The risk of transmission in the community is now low enough to facilitate the easing of restrictions for aged care, just as the NSW Government has eased restrictions across many other areas,” Ms Williams said.

“Social connections are important to all of us, but particularly to residents in aged care. We are very pleased to enable residents to spend time with more of their loved ones this festive season, and to provide this certainty for families as they finalise their plans.

“We understand that this year has been difficult for everyone, and we are grateful to residents and their loved ones for their patience and understanding.”

Under the changes, performers like choirs and musicians will also be able to visit for the first time since March, so all the festive traditions of carols and Christmas concerts can also take place in a COVID-safe way.

The changes will remove the need for influenza vaccination for people providing care and support visits at aged care facilities. Staff will still need to meet this requirement.

NSW Health has worked closely with Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) to prepare guidance for the aged care sector on how to enjoy a COVID-safe festive season this year.

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