More nurses in aged care could save lives through COVID-19: study
A recent study has shown that the chances of an elderly resident in an aged care facility contracting COVID-19 decreases substantially with better ratios of registered nurses.
The study conducted by the American Medical Association has shown a strong link with registered nurse staffing and infection rates.
The study conducted in eight American states has found that just an addition 20 minutes a day of registered nursing care per resident cut deaths and cases by more than 20%.
It further found that nursing homes in the lowest staffing brackets for the study were 1.5 times more likely to have more than 30 cases of COVID-19 occur in the facility, compared to homes in the highest staffing bracket.
This study occurs in the context of the COVID-19 crisis enveloping nursing homes around the world, including in Australia.
Almost 60% of all COVID-19 deaths in the country have been aged care residents.
Professor Kathy Eagar from the University of Wollongong said she was “not surprised that the COVID tragedy continues to unfold in aged care homes”.
“Aged care is a perfect COVID-19 storm and so much of what has happened was both predictable and preventable”, she said.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Federal Secretary Annie Butler echoed Professor Eagar’s sentiment, saying that the current situation in the sector was “putting the lives of the elderly at further risk during the pandemic”.