The Minister for Aged Care has ordered an “urgent review” into the infectious disease management practices of all aged care facilities following an increase in flu-related deaths in residential aged care this winter.
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt told AAA the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency would “examine the management of infectious diseases outbreak procedures, including vaccinations of staff and residents, across the aged care sector.”
Questions posed by AAA to Minister Wyatt regarding the scope and nature of the agency’s review were referred to the quality agency.
The details of how the examination will be conducted and what it will involve are currently being finalised, a spokesperson for the quality agency told AAA on Wednesday morning.
The review announcement came on Sunday when Minister for Health Greg Hunt and Minister for Aged Care Key Wyatt also announced that Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy would look at ways to boost vaccination rates among residential aged care workers including making the flu vaccination compulsory (read that story here).
Both investigations have been prompted by the deaths of now eight residents at St John’s Retirement Village in Wangaratta in Victoria and reports of fatalities from the flu at Strathdevon Aged Care in Tasmania.
“Older people are always vulnerable to the flu, but the many deaths this year are unacceptable,” Mr Wyatt said.
Minister Wyatt said he has also instructed the quality agency to conduct a review audit of the St John’s Wangaratta and the Strathdevon aged care facilities to assess their performance against the 44 accreditation standards, which includes infection control systems and processes.
“The quality agency has been advised that the Strathdevon home is being reopened, meaning this review audit will begin on Monday, 11 September,” Mr Wyatt said.
“The review audit of St John’s Wangaratta is also expected to start next week but this will depend on when the home is reopened,” he said.
The completed review audit reports will be provided to the secretary of the Department of Health and will be published on the quality agency’s website.
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