Leave extended for aged care residents during COVID-19

Senior Australians who have moved out of an aged care home during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to benefit from the Australian Government’s emergency leave arrangements.

Under changes to legislation first implemented in May, residents won’t be penalised or disadvantaged if they temporarily move out of their aged care home during a crisis where it is safe and appropriate for them to do so.

The provision was immediately activated for the COVID-19 pandemic and was due to finish at the end of this month.

It is now extended until 30 June, 2021.

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said the extension was another measure of support as the pandemic continues to impact communities, particularly in Victoria.

“Many permanent residential aged care residents want to temporarily relocate with family to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19, and the Australian Government supports that choice where appropriate,” Minister Colbeck said.

“By introducing this arrangement, we are giving senior Australians the option of staying with family for the duration of the emergency, without the extra worry about using or exhausting their normal social leave entitlements.”

Without emergency leave arrangements, permanent residents are entitled to be away from their aged care residence for up to 52 days a year for non-hospital related reasons – known as social leave.

Under normal circumstances, if a resident takes more than 52 days social leave, the Government does not provide its subsidy to the aged care home for that person for the extra days in addition to a resident’s normal contribution.

The cost of the government subsidy can then be passed on to the resident by a provider. Emergency leave prevents this from happening.

For aged care residents who do choose to take emergency leave, there is a national model of emergency support available through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).

There are a range of care and services available, including personal care, nursing services meals, social support, allied health and therapy services, unaccompanied grocery shopping and transport.

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