Additional support provided to Old Ages Homes amidst COVID-19 pandemic
The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) is providing additional support to residential facilities for older persons amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the lives and livelihoods of people in many drastic ways. In many countries, older people are facing the most threats and challenges at this time. Although all age-groups are at risk of contracting COVID-19, older people face a significant risk of developing severe illness if they contract the disease due to physiological changes that come with ageing and potential underlying health conditions.
The Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said: “Support for older people, their families and their caregivers is an essential part of our department’s’ comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The department currently funds 364 NPOs that render services to older persons, of which, 117 are residential facilities.”
Minister Fernandez added: “The success of our interventions depends on continued partnerships with communities and family members. Most importantly, we need every individual to take responsibility, by taking the necessary precautions to promote the safety and well-being of the elderly, especially those who are at high risk with comorbidities.”
The following support is being provided to old age homes during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Protocols have been put in place between the provincial DSD and the Department of Health with regards to referrals of COVID-19 outbreaks at old age homes (NOTE: Health department do screening and testing on site at home with staff and residence - see link for more information Guidelines for Long Term Care Facilities and Covid19).
- R 1.755 million has been made available for old age homes for the management of COVID19.
- 15 000 masks and 50 litres have been distributed to old age homes across the province.
- Additional relief staff are provided where and when needed.
- Specialised training for carers.
- Facilitated volunteers to deep-clean old age homes – with a focus on homes in vulnerable communities and hotspot areas.
- Sanitizers and face shields have been distributed to 117 old age homes (5000 face shields provided to 117 old age homes).
The Older Persons Act empowers the department to monitor residential facilities, and ensure their compliance with stringent norms and standards of care for the elderly, especially as it relates to frail care. All residential facilities caring for the elderly must be registered with the department.
Minister Fernandez said: “The department does not run or manage any residential facilities. The department makes subsidies available to registered old age homes. In this regard, proof of sound management and audited financial statements, with a board holding regular meetings ensuring compliance and care to the elderly, and a manager reporting to the Board of Trustees is required.”
In closing, Minister Fernandez summed up three important messages that highlight that combating COVID-19 is everyone’s responsibility:
- While older people are at the highest risk from COVID-19, all of us, of all ages, need to act responsibly, to prevent further community spread of the virus.
- It is crucial that we support all health, care workers and equally and give special attention to those who provide nursing and social care services for older people.
- Supporting and protecting older people living alone in the community, is everyone’s responsibility.
I wish to thank each and every individual, who continues to follow the rules of the COVID19 restrictions thereby helping us in our fight to stop the spread and flatten the curve
We urge the public to access credible information on https://www.westerncape.gov.za/department-of-health/coronavirus
For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below:
Joshua Covenant Chigome
Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 083 661 4949
Private Bag X9112, Cape Town, 8000
14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001