Emergency leave extended another year

The Federal Government has extended the initiative supporting aged care residents to take emergency leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative supporting aged care residents to temporarily relocate to live with family to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 has been extended for another 12 months.

The emergency leave mechanism aims to avoid residents being penalised or disadvantaged for moving out of a facility during a crisis.

It was due to wrap up this week but is in effect for another year until 30 June 2022, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Richard Colbeck announced this week.

“To 31 May 2021, 11,078 people have taken leave from their aged care home under the emergency leave provision since it came into effect on 1 April 2020,” Mr Colbeck told Australian Ageing Agenda.

He said extending the initiative allowed residents to continue to take emergency leave rather than using their limited social leave entitlements.

Richard Colbeck

“We want to provide certainty and reassurance to residents who wish to temporarily relocate and stay with family at times when COVID-19 is a risk in their aged care residence,” Mr Colbeck said.

Usually, permanent aged care residents are entitled to 52 days of social leave away from their aged care home, after which the Government stops paying the subsidy to providers, who might pass the cost onto residents.

This is the second extension of the COVID-19 emergency leave initiative, which was announced in May 2020 to initially run until the end of September 2020.

Under the initiative, aged care residents on leave can access support through the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

Tier 1 support, which is available to residents who temporarily re-locate away from an aged care home significantly impacted by COVID-19, covers personal care and nursing services equivalent to a Level 4 Home Care Package for up to eight weeks.

Tier 2 support is available for any residents who temporarily return to live in the community during the pandemic regardless of whether their aged care home is significantly impacted by COVID-19. It covers meals, transport, individual social support, unaccompanied shopping, allied health and therapy services and lower level nursing and personal care for up to eight weeks.

Residents can access tier 1 support by contacting the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600 and tier 2 support by contacting My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

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Tags: covid-19, emergency leave, Richard Colbeck, temporary leave,

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