There has been “relief” and “cheering” in some regional NSW aged care centres this week with residents able to reunite with their family and friends, after weeks of lockdown. 

Key points:

  • Aged care residents in areas that are no longer in lockdown can have visitors again
  • The general manager of aged care centre in Lockhart said she’s already noticed a positive difference
  • The son of one resident, Michael Smith, is relieved to return to face-to-face visits

Aged care facilities banned visitors when stay-at-home orders were implemented across the entire state at the beginning of August.

Woodhaven Aged Care in the NSW Riverina town of Lockhart had been in lockdown for five weeks before opening its doors to visitors again on Monday.

Michael Smith’s mother Dawn Smith resides at the facility. He said he was “over the moon” when he found out he could see her again.

Mr Smith said phone calls were “just not the same” as spending time face-to-face.

“It was a relief that we could get back together again and see each other,” he said.

The NSW Health guidelines state that two visitors at a time can enter the facilities, as long as they are not from an area of concern.

A better ’emotional’ state 

Woodhaven’s general manager Lisa Krebser said despite residents only being able to have two visitors a day, she has noticed a difference already.

General manager standing outside the aged care facility

Woodhaven Aged Care’s general manager, Lisa Krebser says it’s so important for residents to have visitors back to the facility.(

Supplied: Woodhaven Aged Care


Ms Krebser said stay-at-home orders are tough on residents and while they increased emotional support, it doesn’t compare to the physical contact of family members.

“It meant no one was coming in and they weren’t going out.”

“Staff can’t take their place, as much as you try … it’s not the same as family members coming in and just being there for you.”

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“So excited they were cheering”
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