It is clear, from the Victorian Government’s declaration of a State of Disaster, and implementation of further restrictions on movement, that Victoria is in the midst of a serious and dire stage of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Of concern is the growing clusters within the Aged Care sector and the lack of information provided to families of residents. This has led to overwhelming confusion and frustration amongst many Victorians who are unsure whether their loved ones are infected with coronavirus, are in hospital, or otherwise healthy. This article aims to assist families in understanding their options in requesting information about their loved ones health status as well as organisations that may assist in receiving this information.
Call the Aged Care Facility
The first place to try and receive information on your loved one is by attempting to call the Aged Care facility in which they currently reside. You may find this difficult, either to get through to a nurse or aged care worker, to receive information on your loved one, or to speak to someone altogether. Nevertheless, we recommend that you attempt to call the Aged Care facility as a first step to receive this information.
Email the Aged Care Facility
If you have attempted to call the Aged Care facility and are not getting a response, nor receiving any information, we recommend you attempt to email the facility with details of your loved one. You may wish to include the full name and date of birth of your loved one, for ease of identification, as well as your enquiry as to their wellbeing. As many Registered Nurses, ADF Personnel and other healthcare workers from a range of different settings are now assisting in the Aged Care sector, providing further information in writing may lead to a quicker identification of your loved one and therefore a quicker update on their wellbeing.
Contact Government or Advocacy Groups
If you are unable to receive any information, despite emailing and calling the facility, we recommend contacting Government or Advocacy groups to assist you. You might consider calling the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) on 1300 650 172. Although Aged Care is under Federal jurisdiction, the DHHS may be able to assist you in providing further information. Otherwise we recommend you contact Elder Rights Advocacy, an independent Victorian based organisation who may be able to provide further information to you regarding other means of getting information on your loved ones weelbeing. Elder Rights Advocacy can we contacted on 1800 171 866.
We understand, despite the above, that you may still be confused on your options to receive further information on your loved ones wellbeing in Aged Care during this time. Although we recommend first trying the above steps before seeking legal advice, you are welcome to contact De Marco Lawyers should you need assistance in the above process or if you are not receiving any information on your loved ones. Should you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Miss Bronte Strong on (03) 9304 9500.
This information is current as at 3 August 2020. Given the rapidly evolving circumstances surrounding COVID-19, additional information may affect this article. To see whether this information relates to you, we ask that you ring our office on (03) 9304 9500.
This article is intended only to provide a summary of the subject matter covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to render legal advice. No reader should act on the basis of any matter contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice.
DISCLAIMER: We accept no responsibility for any action taken after reading this article. It is intended as a guide only and is not a substitute for the expert legal advice you can get from De Marco Lawyers and other relevant experts.