An additional COVID-19 specific support package totalling $205 million will help seniors remain safe and healthy in aged care.

Federal Nationals Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan welcomed the additional funding as it will help all Commonwealth-funded residential aged care providers protect our elderly loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Senior Australians are highly vulnerable to coronavirus and we have sadly witnessed the impact the pandemic can have on elderly people in aged care facilities in Sydney right now,” Mr Conaghan said.

“We want to ensure our elderly residents are safe and so the Federal Government has provided approximately $1350 per resident in regional Commonwealth-funded residential aged care facilities and $900 per resident in major metropolitan areas.

“This funding will help residential aged care providers with the additional costs of caring for the health and wellbeing of residents, an essential investment for our area right now.”

This additional funding takes the total COVID-19 specific Federal Government funding for aged care to more than $850 million because elderly persons are important and they are the most vulnerable population to coronavirus.

This funding follows the $235 million retention bonus paid to residential and home care workers to strengthen the workforce during the pandemic and $101 million to support providers directly impacted by an outbreak.

So far there has been no outbreak of COVID-19 in any residential aged care facilities in Mr Conaghan’s Cowper electorate, but the industry has implemented tighter infection control measures and the aged care sector code of conduct to be vigilant.

Garden Village Port Macquarie is one of the 23 aged care providers in the region that will benefit from the additional funding and the village’s management has been busy implementing the COVID-19 Residential Care Visitor Access Code.

“Garden Village provides care for 142 aged care residents and we have employed additional staff, increased staff training, and purchased additional medical supplies and personal protective equipment to ensure the safety and welfare of our residents and staff,” Garden Village Port Macquarie CEO Craig Wearne said.

“The Village screens all staff twice a day, continually audits its systems and constantly evaluates infection control processes. These measures have substantially increased expenses for our aged care service.

“Board and management have been working very hard since February to prepare the Village and to address the financial challenges of providing a safe environment for residents and staff.

“We are extremely appreciative of the additional Federal Government funding at this time and I thank Pat Conaghan for advocating for it on our behalf.”