Outbreak forces home into lockdown

Forty-four residents and 13 staff have shown gastro symptoms at a Tweed Heads facility.

The Commonwealth Nursing Officer and an officer from the Complaints Investigation Scheme (CIS) have been sent to a home on the NSW north coast after a gastroenteritis outbreak was reported.

The NSW Public Health Unit advised that one resident at the 101-bed Bangalor Retreat Nursing Home in Tweed Heads has died and three more have been hospitalised.

Overall 44 residents have displayed gastro symptoms and 13 staff members at the home have been affected.

The home’s operators have responded to the outbreak by putting it into lockdown.

The Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot said the government’s primary concern is the welfare of residents.

“The Department of Health and Ageing is closely monitoring the situation at Bangalor Retreat to ensure that all appropriate actions are being taken,” she said.

“Australia’s nursing homes and hostels and their staff provide world-class care and we can never wipe out infectious diseases, but we must always look at new ways to reduce infection.”

The Commonwealth Government released a gastro information kit last November to support nursing homes and hostels in the identification and management of outbreaks.

And new national guidelines are currently being developed with a specific focus on norovirus, a common and highly infectious cause of gastroenteritis in nursing homes.

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