An Eaglehawk aged care facility is in lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Aged care provider Benetas has told families that residents who have tested negative can have “window visits”
The ABC understands the aged care facility went into lockdown late last week
An aged care expert says lockdowns can seriously affect the health of older people
In a letter to families on Wednesday Benetas said “unfortunately we have had an increase in numbers of positive COVID-19 cases at our Eaglehawk facility”.
It went on to state that residents who did not have the virus would be allowed “window visits”, but positive could not have any visitors until they finished their seven days in isolation.
In a letter received by families on Thursday, a Benetas manager said “this is a decision made by the Department of Health in the attempt to mitigate any risk”.
The ABC understands the facility went into lockdown on Sunday after at least four residents tested positive.
Lockdowns unfair, expert says
Andrew Dean was the Commonwealth’s clinical first responder to aged care COVID-19 outbreaks during the pandemic lockdowns, during which he managed about 50 Melbourne facilities.
The prominent aged care consultant has hit out at the move to lockdown the entire facility.
“The residents are in the twilight of their years, and to take potential visits away from families is a very big decision to make,” Mr Dean said.
“I think perhaps we’re at a point where we could do better … rather than be draconian.”
Mr Dean said isolation could increase comorbidities and shorten the lives of older people.
“So we really need to be very careful when we arbitrarily put these obstacles in place, particularly in in disease management,” he said.
“At the beginning of the pandemic we didn’t know enough — we could justify being very draconian because we had no effective treatment.
“At this stage of the pandemic, [it] really doesn’t do justice to the human element.”
The ABC has approached Benetas for comment.
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