Benetas takes part in major Covid study

More than 60 aged care facilities are taking part in the ground-breaking research.

Aged care, retirement living and community services provider Benetas is taking part in a world-first study to examine whether ultraviolet light can decrease the impact of Covid and influenza in aged care settings.

Six Benetas homes – The View at Heidelberg, Clarinda on the Park, Colton Close in Glenroy, St George’s in Altona, Corowa Court in Mornington, and St Paul’s in Frankston – will join more than 60 aged care facilities across Melbourne and Geelong in the study, which is being run by the Victorian Department of Health and supported by scientists and clinicians at the Burnet Institute.

The invisible germicidal ultraviolet lights – which are believed to neutralise airborne viruses – will only be installed in half of the homes participating in the study, with the other sites making up the control group.

Throughout the 12-month study – which begins early July – information on the number of respiratory infections in all facilities will be collected and analysed, including the flu, coronavirus and other viruses.

Sandra Hills

“Aged care residents are typically more vulnerable to these illnesses, particularly in aged care settings,” said Benetas CEO Sandra Hills. “If something as simple as ultraviolet lights can reduce the impact and incidence, then it’s an important step for the aged care sector.”

News of the study comes after the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson warned providers to be vigilant of Covid outbreaks this winter. She told Australian Ageing Agenda: “As we enter the colder months and with increasing cases of Covid-19 transmission in the community, aged care providers must be prepared for a potential outbreak.”

Janet Anderson

As AAA reported last month, the number of cases of Covid-19 in residential aged care homes more than doubled during the course of a six-week period.

Government statistics show that – as of 11 April – there were 1,150 cases in 209 facilities. As of 16 May, there were 3,110 cases across 378 sites.

And the numbers continue to rise. As of 6 June, there were 4,413 cases of Covid across 499 aged care homes.

Ms Anderson told AAA it was important that providers ensured staff were keeping up to date with their vaccinations to protect those they cared for. “Thorough preparation and ongoing vigilance is also key to managing the risks that Covid-19 presents in aged care settings,” she said. “A slow or ineffective response to an outbreak places older people and staff at increased risk of harm, and that is unacceptable.”

Comment on the story below. Follow Australian Ageing Agenda on LinkedInX (Twitter) and Facebook, sign up to our twice-weekly newsletter and subscribe to our premium content or AAA magazine for the complete aged care picture.  

Tags: benetas, covid, infection control, Janet Anderson, Sandra Hiils, ultraviolet light,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *