- Covid-19 is highlighting a number of concerns.
- For anyone needing to make the decision, understanding how facilities and their management deliver medical services.
- With reference to the RC (separate community topic) a system under resourced and stressed even before Covid-19
Our reality (recent first hand), although we have numerous older family members experiences spread over the prior decade or two as a baseline.
Aged care facilities are “not nursing homes”. Any notion that the majority are medical facilities is far from factual. Perhaps back in the olden days post each WW they were run by medical professionals and staffed predominantly by qualified nurses.
In Aged Care the level of care, support and services delivered is different from the high level of medical care provided in hospital, in rehab accommodation, or in state hospital run temporary accommodation for those waiting for placement or home care.
The facilities deliver residential services for our aged family who cannot live independently. And for those who for any one of a number of reasons cannot remain at home with the assistance of a residential care package. Staff have various levels of training to assist residents and provide basic care. Registered nursing staff are a small number.
Medical professional services (Doctors) come on a scheduled basis or on call. Any non routine treatment or services requires residents to attend external providers or hospital. Some facilities are set up to deliver palliative care (end of life).
By whom and how the responsibility for the medical care of each resident is assigned, is for us an important consideration. There are many fingers in the pie. Including Federal Govt Aged Care Services, State Govt Medical Orders and Registration of staff, Facility Management/staff, Individual Residents (of sound faculty), and nominated family (EPA, AHD etc).
What is very evident is the facility we are most familiar with and those we reviewed recently - ARE NOT HOSPITALS!
- They are not designed to function as infectious disease wards,
- Residents live in close proximity with minimal social distancing,
- Containment is only possible by restricting residents to isolation in their own rooms, even if they are not infected.
- Staff are not trained or equipped to work in an infectious disease type hospital environment.
Our general experience with the staff at our mum’s facility is very positive. The majority are just as concerned for the residents as we are. The management have also advised that any residents who fall ill will be transferred to hospital. While this is reassuring, to date the evidence at facilities in other states has been very different.
Our part of Queensland has also moved to lock down Aged Care Facilities. It makes it more difficult for family to exercise any control over the care or medical needs of family members. No different to some other states for now.
We wonder whether despite best intents of all, the systems in place are serving the communities needs in the best way?
What are your experiences, concerns and suggestions?
Residents of all facilities are most reliant on the facility staff to stay Covid free. This may be the greater challenge for the community. Especially given the high level of community transmission now evident in some parts of the nation.