Nothing to see here: Coronavirus in nursing homes

Article published 25 May 2020

Nothing to see here: Coronavirus in nursing homes

WHILE two NSW nursing homes received extensive media coverage of their travails with coronavirus outbreaks, CPSA understands a further 50 or so nursing homes have reported coronavirus cases. Some of these homes have been named in the media.

However, the federal Department of Health only publishes nursing home coronavirus cases as state and national aggregates.

There is no recognition that prospective residents and their families might want to know if a nursing home is free of coronavirus infections. There is certainly no recognition of their right to know.

Recently, CPSA wrote to the NSW Minister for Health requesting he publish the names of the NSW nursing homes that harboured coronavirus infections.

The Minister’s substantive response was as follows: NSW Health publishes up-to-date information on the number of NSW active cases, tests and recovered cases on its website at www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/default.aspx. It also provides relevant and accurate data to news outlets daily. Due to the sensitivity of the information you have requested and the rapidly changing environment of COVID-19, it is not appropriate for NSW Health to publish a daily list of NSW aged care facilities showing the number of coronavirus infections, recoveries and deaths in each facility.

CPSA thinks it is not appropriate that current residents and their families and prospective residents and their families remain in the dark.

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