On September 9, TLC Aged Care introduced a rapid antigen testing program at their 11 residential aged care homes across Melbourne and Geelong. TLC is Australia’s first aged care provider to mandate rapid antigen tests for every visitor, staff member and contractor that enters their homes. The rapid antigen test that TLC utilises is 95% effective and has been approved by the TGA in Australia and the FDA in the United States.
Lou Pascuzzi, the CEO of TLC, says the program has already proven effective. “In the four weeks since mandating our rapid antigen testing program, two people have returned positive tests. They have subsequently taken PCR tests, and one was confirmed positive. The person returning the positive test was asymptomatic and not aware that they had contracted COVID-19.
“As vaccination rates increase, restrictions ease and contract tracing winds down, there is an increased likelihood that a person can be infected with COVID-19 and not know. This situation proves that rapid antigen testing is the most effective way to protect vulnerable aged care residents.
“Victoria has the opportunity to avoid a repeat of the current outbreaks occurring in NSW residential aged care homes, which may significantly worsen as they open up. The deaths of vaccinated and unvaccinated aged care residents in NSW could have been avoided if homes had mandated rapid antigen testing rather than supporting a voluntary approach.
“As the community reopens, the three pillars of the TLC COVID-19 management strategy will be rapid antigen testing, vaccination, and infection-control protocols. Our approach to date has allowed TLC homes to welcome visitors for much of the pandemic; when it was safe to do so. This is despite 75% of TLC’s locations being in Victoria’s COVID-19 hot-spot areas.
“Our COVID-19 management strategy has ensured that all TLC homes have been free of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. It has also allowed TLC to minimise lockdowns, promoting increased levels of safe access for family members to residents and a positive mental health influence on our residents and staff,” says Pascuzzi.
Find out more about TLC Aged Care.