on air now

Doctor weighs in on why COVID-19 outbreaks are so much worse in some nursing homes than others

The Australian Medical Association is calling for risk assessments to be carried out at nursing homes across Victoria as the number of coronavirus cases linked to aged care skyrockets.

There are at least 769 active COVID-19 cases linked to aged care.

AMA Victoria’s emergency medicine representative Dr Sarah Whitelaw said there is a “huge problem”.

She said the difference in qualified nurse to patient ratios could be a factor involved in the vastly different infection rates in state, federal and private nursing homes.

“The state government owns some beds, the federal government owns a lot more … and private companies own a lot of beds,” Dr Whitelaw told Ross and John.

“State beds have fixed ratios for the number of nurses required and maybe that is something that is leading to the state nursing home beds having significantly less infections at this time.

“As a doctor I would never imply that correlation equals causation … but there is a significant difference in infections in state run beds versus Commonwealth and private beds at the moment.”

Dr Whitelaw said other factors including where a nursing home is located, and where staff live, may also play a role in the differing infection rates.

Press PLAY below for the full interview.