There are more than 748 aged care facilities and nursing homes across Victoria, and most of them have been in complete lockdown for most of the past 6 months to reduce the risk of exposure for residents and staff to coronavirus.

For many residents, loneliness is an increasing issue with no visits from family, no outings, no special guests for singalongs or other activities that bring stimulation and joy to their days. There is no substitute for human contact and many families report to me the stress on both sides of not being able to visit their parent in aged care and the psychological impact of continued lockdown. Our aged care workforce, while continuing to provide the physical and medical care needed by residents, is also more increasingly completely responsible for the emotional wellbeing of their residents and a quasi-substitute for the physical support that family members may usually provide.

We look forward to visits returning to our aged care homes and people being reunited with their family. In the meantime, despite concerning failings of some facilities in their duty of care, there are thousands of committed aged care workers in the sector and we continue to count on you in supporting residents in aged care.