The Australian Government is investing $12.4 million in a Grief and Trauma Response Package to ensure support is available for those affected by COVID-19 across the aged care sector.
This is part of the $171.5 million COVID-19 response plan for aged care support programs announced in August 2020.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said services would be established as quickly as possible to ensure people were able to access the support they need.
“The Australian Government understands the serious emotional and psychological effects that COVID-19 has had on people receiving aged care services and their loved ones, as well as those providing care within aged care residential facilities,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The package will provide direct support to aged care residents and their families through improved advocacy assistance, grief and bereavement counselling and for aged care residents, home care recipients and their families.
“It will also ensure aged care staff have access to training in trauma-informed care, including advice on self-care, and post‑COVID‑19 support for aged care residents living with dementia and those experiencing adverse physical, social and psychological impacts.”
The three organisations charged with delivery of the services will provide a national response, as well as surge responses in COVID-19 hot spots, as required.
- The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement will provide specialist information and support to residential aged care and home care recipients and their families who have been affected by COVID-19;
- Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health will deliver a sector-wide trauma-informed care package that provides trauma training and resources for aged care residents, their families and aged care staff, including through the establishment of a dedicated website; and
- Dementia Support Australia will implement a proactive engagement program to help alleviate the impacts of lockdown on aged care residents living with dementia.
Additional funding has also been provided to the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) to continue their enhanced advocacy and information support to people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Departmental case managers supporting aged care providers, the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre, and the Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN) will ensure support from these new services is available to families from affected facilities.
The Grief and Trauma Response Package will be evaluated and monitored to ensure services are effective in meeting the needs of aged care recipients, their families and aged care staff.
Resources will be provided in a number of languages, and counselling support will be accessible through the Translation and Interpretation Service (TIS) and Australian Sign Language (Auslan), as required.