The Australian Medical Association is calling for every nursing home in Victoria to undergo an urgent risk assessment to measure its vulnerability to “disastrous” coronavirus outbreaks. Source: The Age.
An unfolding and deadly crisis in Victoria’s aged care sector has led to almost 200 older residents being transferred from nursing homes swamped by COVID-19 infections, threatening to overwhelm the state’s hospitals.
Yesterday, when the state recorded six deaths and 384 new cases of coronavirus, extraordinary steps were taken to manage the spike in demand for hospital beds.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced an end to all but the most urgent elective surgeries in a bid to free up medical personnel to deal with the influx of elderly patients.
Nurses employed by the state government have been deployed to take over care of residents living in troubled facilities, he confirmed, in a national response co-ordinated out of the State Control Centre.
Almost 40 people have died in Victoria in outbreaks linked to aged care – with many homes overwhelmed with infections in staff and residents.
The federal Government is the primary funder and regulator of aged care in Australia, while the state government runs a small proportion of facilities in Victoria. Under its coronavirus plan, the state Government provides advice to all residential aged care facilities in the state.
Dr Sarah Whitelaw, the AMA’s emergency representative, said the AMA and other speciality groups had been asking the Victorian Health Department for months to arrange risk assessments for all aged care centres as part of its plan to prevent and manage coronavirus cases.
Doctors demand urgent risk checks at all nursing homes as crisis grows (By Aisha Dow, Melissa Cunningham and Michael Fowler, The Age)
Coronavirus: Governments argue as elderly death toll rises (The Australian)