The Australian parliament has amended the Aged Care Act, 1997 to allow aged care residents to live with their family during COVID-19 without penalty.
The amendment ensures the Government will continue to pay subsidies for residents on emergency leave from aged care facilities. They have also backdated eligibility to April 1, 2020.
Residents who move out of their aged care homes to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection will not be penalised or disadvantaged for breaking their agreement with the aged care facility.
That means if you have a loved one in care and don’t want them there, they won’t have to pay to hold their place during COVID-19 and similar emergencies.
Under the previous legislation, permanent residents can be away from their aged care residence for up to 52 days a year for non-hospital related reasons – called “social leave”. Government subsidies stop if a resident takes more than 52 days social leave, and the cost is usually passed on to the resident.
This is a sensible measure to help reduce an aged care resident’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the spread of the virus generally.
When the amendments were introduced into parliament, Shadow Aged Care Minister, Julie Collins MP, said around 500 Australians families were using the leave. She said the limits on leave had seen families cover the $200 a day subsidy themselves – clearly an unfair situation.