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Push to have aged care residents with COVID-19 sent to hospital

Back in May, the chief executive of Anglicare said if he could go back in time he would push to have residents who tested positive for COVID-19 at Newmarch House sent to hospital.

Grant Millard told ABC radio: “If I had my time again, I’d be insisting people who are COVID-positive go to hospital – in hindsight that would have been my preference.”

Millard complied with NSW Health’s containment strategy after the outbreak and the state’s chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant stood by the decision-making of clinicians onsite at Newmarch House.

“For many of the residents, that was their actual place of residence… when you move people from their environment they’re exposed to other risks such as falls risk, disorientation and then as a consequence get other health issues,” Chant said in May.

Now, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) is calling for clear coronavirus outbreak protocols for aged care that allow for hospitalisation of residents. 

The peak body’s chief executive, Patricia Sparrow, said: “If COVID-19 gets into aged care facilities we know the outcome can be disastrous. People who test positive should be transferred to hospital to prevent major outbreaks and give people the best possible chance of survival.”

Sparrow said aged care facilities are not set up to deliver the level of healthcare needed for COVID-19 treatment. “We are simply not funded to be intensive care hospitals and need time and support to become ready for a hospital in the home approach,” she said.

“ACSA is calling on all governments to develop protocols and follow the lead of South Australia who will transfer aged care residents to hospital to give the best possible chance of containment and survival.”

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3 comments

  1. Of course they should go to Hospital. Even the hospitals with all their PPE and staff on hand and doctors and security cannot manage it properly. Nursing homes are their to give care to the elderly and they are HOMES, not functioning hospitals. I think the health department has learnt this from this poor sad story.

  2. I absolutely agree that we need to lobby to have the residents moved to Hospital if they are Covid Positive. Remove them from the environment that cannot protect the other residents. The carers are not qualified health professionals and cannot be expected to operate at that level as they so often are expected to do

  3. Isn’t it absurd that we have to push to have elderly covid positive or symptomatic residents admitted to hospital. Young people in the same position are straight in.
    We met with ACT Health a while back and they were very reluctant to take covid residents to the Covid ward!!!
    Newmarch under the NSW Health was a tragedy, Rockhampton was done well and should be the standard but stupidity prevails.
    Facilities need to be aggressive when confronted with Covid and insist on transfers to appropriate resources, don’t be bullied.

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