Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC)

Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration


The Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC) is a unique collaboration of health, research, aged care and advocacy organisations working together to improve the lives of older people.

Our vision is that older people received the best possible care and support through services, programs and policies which support health and optimal quality of life.

Image of the logos of all MARC partners

A co-design examination into the impact of restricted access to residential aged care facilities on care partners during the COVID-19 pandemic

Problem

Family involvement in residential aged care is seen as an integral part of providing quality care to older people, and staff working in partnership with families ensures better outcomes for residents. In this instance, family members are seen as partners in the care of their loved ones. The family caregivers are described as Care Partners in the care team and are distinct from casual visitors because they advocate for their loved ones and support their overall care and wellbeing.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the health risks for older people saw the introduction of visitor restrictions in residential aged care services to manage the presence of visitors, with the aim of maintaining physical distance and minimising the risk of virus transmission. Many aged care providers introduced strict visiting times with visitors only allowed to see their loved ones under strict conditions such as in gardens where physical distancing can be maintained or through ‘window visits’. Instead, care partners were encouraged to maintain contact with loved ones using telephone calls or other technological mediums such as Skype and Face Time. As a result, care partners lost physical engagement with their loved ones, activities for residents were limited or stopped and care partners were no longer able to contribute to supporting care for residents.

There were also concerns that residents were being socially isolated during these restrictions. The Department of Health and Human Services instructed that residential aged care providers must balance the safety of residents with appropriate compassionate visits from family.

If you are a care partner of someone living in a residential aged care home and are interested in participating in this project please see the below flyer.

EMbRACE Flyer

Project aims

This project aims to investigate the impact of visitor restrictions during COVID-19 on care partners in residential aged care and identify from the perspective of care partners, how residential aged care service can support their engagement with residents during a period of visitor restrictions.

Project Summary