COVID-19 and Aged Care in Australia

Would it be correct to say:
- It is the responsibility of the home operator to prevent the entry of and spread of infection within the home (ie maintain infection control procedures). This is regulated by federal government. i.e. to maintain SOPs around this aspect, which is part of day to day operation of such facilities.
- Meanwhile it is state government responsibility to manage the health outcomes of sick residents of aged care homes.

If so, there seems to be some overlap. And overlapping responsibilities = no accountability = potential bad outcomes.
 
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Note the Victorian Government declared a State of Emergency in March giving state authorities responsibility for all health and in particular COVID-19 dealings. the following quote explains it:

"A State of Emergency declaration gives the Victorian Chief Health Officer broad powers to act to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health by detaining people, restricting movement, preventing entry to premises, or providing any other directions considered reasonable to protect public health, slow the spread of infection, reduce the pressure on the heath system and minimise the risks of COVID-19."

 
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Note the Victorian Government declared a State of Emergency in March giving state authorities responsibility for all health and in particular COVID-19 dealings. the following quote explains it:

"A State of Emergency declaration gives the Victorian Chief Health Officer broad powers to act to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health by detaining people, restricting movement, preventing entry to premises, or providing any other directions considered reasonable to protect public health, slow the spread of infection, reduce the pressure on the heath system and minimise the risks of COVID-19."


That's right Serfty, but I'm not sure that supports the notion that the Cth aren't responsible for setting the policy and regulations to do with the running of aged care facilities. I'm not sure whether a state of emergency declared in a state can overrule Federal legislation? From the dates, it can be seen that a state of emergency had already been declared in Victoria, but the Cth had not yet mandated the use of face masks in aged care.

From the Royal Commission report, it is seems it was a Federal - not state - responsibility to ensure aged care facilities had a covid plan, and when PPE should be worn:

[background for dates] There were no active cases of COVID-19 in residential aged care before 7 July 2020 but by 13 July 2020 there were 28 cases. By 9 August 2020, the day before our hearing commenced, this figure exceeded 1000. The first recorded death of an aged care resident from COVID-19 in Victoria was on 11 July 2020. As at 13 September 2020, there have been 563 deaths.
During this period, both the Australian Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission were active in providing advice. However, this did not extend to mandating, or recommending, the use of face masks in aged care facilities. This is despite the fact that, according to Professor McLaws, masks are ‘a very cheap and effective method’ of slowing the spread of COVID-19.​
On 29 June 2020, the Australian Department of Health released a document entitled First 24 Hours – Managing COVID-19 in a residential aged care facility (First 24 Hours Guideline). This document provides critical guidance to facilities in the event they experience an outbreak. On 30 June 2020, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission issued a document directed to Victorian residential aged care services entitled Covid-19: Are you alert and ready? This document contained advice from the Commission’s Chief Clinical Advisor, Dr Melanie Wroth. It referred providers to the recently updated CDNA Guidelines.​
On 7 July 2020, the Australian Government Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians wrote to aged care providers urging them to ensure that their outbreak management plans were ‘up to date and ready to be activated’ but did not suggest that they should consider asking their employees to wear masks. Two days after the first Victorian COVID-19-related death connected with aged care, on 13 July 2020, on advice from the AHPPC, the Australian Government Minister for Health announced that aged care staff working in Victoria’s lockdown zones (then Greater Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire) ‘will be required to wear surgical masks’. This announcement came five weeks after the WHO advised that health workers should wear masks and four weeks after community transmission numbers in Victoria had started to increase in mid-June.​
 
Getting to the skinny, many many nursing homes were not up to scratch before the outbreak, and getting away with serial unenforced breaches. One cannot claim many were insolvent, but it sure looked like that. Come Covid, temp nurses cost a lot more than temp hired hands of indeterminate skill levels. Somebody had to pay the gap. I have no knowledge of 'new money'
My question is that are nursing homes refunding in-trust deposits - can be $1.8 million, or are some making excuses? The Cwth grants, I assume have to be paid to compliant facilities, and regrettably not to those behind in filing statutory requirements. Going forward, the cwth has a strong incentive to make policy wishy-washy lest it crystalize insolvency and trust breaches. The public deserves a right to avoid subpar nursing homes carrying undeclared impediments,
 
There has been a problem with Nursing home funding since at least the late 80s.The problem stems from the fact that the number of over 65s have been increasing and the number of taxpayers per aged care resident has been going down.
On top of that costs have been going up.Both major parties have been in power in this time and neither has come up with a solution.If you do increase funding of aged care where is that money going to come from?Especially in the next few years with the costs of the pandemic I really can't see the problem being fixed no matter who is in power.Too many vested interests protecting their piece of the budget pie.
 

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