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Canberra Aged Care Lyneham chief executive Clayton Hutchinson slams ACT government help after COVID exposure, as homes struggle with Omicron | The Canberra Times


coronavirus, covid, covid-19, aged care, omicron

A Canberra aged care chief executive claims the sector isn’t getting enough support, as aged care homes across the ACT struggle with COVID-19 outbreaks. Canberra Aged Care Lyneham chief executive Clayton Hutchinson says he has not received enough help from the ACT government, with three of his staff members isolating after testing positive to COVID. Mr Hutchinson said all residents at the home had been put into a 14-day lockdown at the direction of ACT Health. He said some of the residents were close contacts, but none had tested positive. Mr Hutchinson said while the support from the community had been “amazing”, the industry did not feel the ACT government was responding to the sector’s needs. “Myself and most in the industry do not feel supported [by the government],” he said. Mr Hutchinson said the aged care home had to provide extensive PPE for staff after an exposure. Masks and gowns needed to be replaced every time a staff member interacted with a resident, leading to rising costs. Mr Hutchinson said while he had received about 395 masks from ACT Health, he would use about 1000 masks for staff in just a day and a half. He said that number of masks cost about $4000. READ MORE: “The submission process for stock is long-winded and frustrating,” Mr Hutchinson said. “I just want to be able to call someone if I’m in dire need of supplies … something like that would be perfect. I don’t need someone coming in and doing a risk assessment on my residents.” Mr Hutchinson said ACT Health directed the home to isolate residents to their rooms, but he had refused. He said aged care homes across Canberra were isolating patients. “I would never lock someone in the room,” he said. OTHER COVID NEWS: As the sector continued to try to manage Omicron outbreaks, Mr Hutchison said policy expectations placed on aged care homes could be unrealistic because of the vulnerability of many residents. “I run a nursing home specifically for people with dementia, and the expectation for them to take regular tests up their noses or [to wear] masks can be extremely distressing,” he said. “These are people with very high needs and cognitive impairments.” As aged care homes cross the country continued to struggle with Omicron, industry bodies have called for a national plan. Council on the Ageing Australia chief executive Ian Yates said providers needed “one consistent national approach”. “The state and territory health units have spent far too much time confining residents to their rooms, which is usually not necessary,” he said. ACT Health said it was working with other states, territories and the federal government to update national guidelines on aged care outbreaks. “ACT Health continues to work with other jurisdictions and the Commonwealth on reviewing and adapting the response to COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities, including providing input into updates to the national guidelines,” a spokesperson said. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT is free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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