After four residents in an American nursing home died from COVID-19 and another four diagnosed, New Zealand Aged Care Association’s chief executive Simon Wallace said our nation’s homes are “not geared up” for the outbreak. The mortality rate of people over 80 years old is around 15 percent.
“We’re concerned, or I’m certainly concerned that we haven’t got the level of preparedness and support from the district health boards and Ministry of Health that we need to be able to manage this response through rest homes,” he explained. Wallace continued to say he hasn’t had a good response from DHBs or the ministry. “I raised this issue a couple of weeks ago at a national level forum with district health boards, I wrote to them last week and the response so far has been very patchy.”
Calling for a national action plan, Wallace said this would involve more medical aid, including equipment and staff. “We’d like to have access to the national stockpile of medical equipment, for example sanitary masks and surgical gowns,” he added. “We’d like to be able to have on call staff from public hospitals. We’re not geared up for a larger outbreak such as coronavirus so we need to have the staff support.”
While a national plan may be in the works, this has not been communicated with the association.
This is multi-faceted, it’s about our residents, it’s about our staff as well.