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Nursing care homes the safest place for older people

Aged care residents should not be pulled out of nursing homes because of coronavirus concerns, the Australian federal government says. This comes from Australian-based Channel 9.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the aged care industry offers the safest environment for the elderly after a 95-year-old female nursing home resident became the second coronavirus fatality in Australia.

“I see what has happened in this particular case and, while I understand the concerns… I think this is a very important thing to note, we have a very, very clear and well-prepared coronavirus emergency plan,” he said.

He advised relatives of elderly people in care against pulling them out into the wider community.

“For children who have older parents in aged care homes, that remains the safest circumstance for them because they’re under care, they’re under management,” Hunt said.

He said the aged care industry had expertise and experience in combating infections and caring for the 200,000 elderly people in homes.

“Aged care homes deal with infection control because every year they face flu seasons and that is one of their areas of expertise,” Hunt said.

The national peak body for non-profit aged providers – Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) – said it is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and taking advice from health experts.

“Aged care providers are experienced in disease control measures because we are dealing with vulnerable groups every day,” ACSA chief executive Patricia Sparrow told Nine.com.au.

“Aged care providers are continuing to take advice from government and health authorities at state and federal level on the evolving coronavirus situation and will update our protocols and processes, including any lockdown requirements, as necessary based on their advice.”

Stay away if unwell

ACSA has reminded relatives and friends of aged care home residents to be extra careful when visiting nursing homes and stay away if they’re unwell.

The 95-year-old woman who died in a Sydney hospital last night after developing a respiratory illness was confirmed to have had coronavirus.

An 82-year-old aged care resident from the Dorothy Henderson Lodge at Macquarie Park, where the 95-year-old woman had previously been, has also been diagnosed with the virus.

The male resident is being treated in hospital. A 50-year-old aged care nurse who had been treating the man remains in hospital after testing positive to COVID-19.

Australia recorded its first coronavirus death recently after a 78-year-old Perth man succumbed to the illness.

Retired travel agent James Kwan died peacefully in the intensive care unit at Sir Charles Gairdner hospital after contracting the virus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship. 

(Channel 9)