Belgium: Government approves use of hospital resources to help struggling aged care homes – 20% of residents and 14% of staff infected

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A win for Belgian aged care operators, though one that may have come too late.

As we reported yesterday, 42% of the European country’s COVID-19 deaths are estimated to have taken place in aged care homes – over 1,400 residents.

Now the Government has agreed to allow for hospital staff and resources to be deployed in aged care homes dealing with outbreaks of the virus.

While the agreement is non-binding, it will enable regional health authorities to mobilise hospitals to make up for shortages of staff and equipment in Belgian nursing homes and other residential health care centres.

Because many aged care homes in Belgium don’t have supplied of bottled oxygen – used for treating some COVID-19 patients, the deal also calls on hospitals to admit aged care residents or to delay the discharge of residents who don’t have access to oxygen supply in their aged car homes.

The deal comes as Government officials said 20% of Belgium’s aged care residents and 14% of staff had been confirmed as having coronavirus, based on some 11,000 tests conducted on Tuesday.

They are now planning to test staff and residents at the remainder of its aged care homes over the next three weeks.

Belgium has the fifth-highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe – over 4,400 people – despite only having a population of 11.5 million people – a figure that has been put down to the high number of cases in its aged care homes.

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