Nurses fear aged care residents “giving up” due to COVID-19 and isolation

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Residents are not eating, drinking or taking their medication according to healthcare professionals concerned about the cumulative effect of COVID-19 and isolation in Vitoria’s aged care facilities.

In an interview with the ABC, Western Health Clinical Nursing Consultant Shane Durance said he feared there would be a “long tail of ongoing deaths” as a result.

“We’ve got people who aren’t COVID-positive, whose mood is severely depressed, who are not eating well, who are not drinking adequately, who are permanently locked in their rooms, not able to go out for any activities, no leisure activities, and their mobility is declining and their mood is declining,” he said.

“And for someone who’s already elderly, already has a mood disorder, already is mildly malnourished — it’s very hard to come back from that.”

Mr Durance argues more could be done for aged care residents in lockdown, and says federal government funding could be invested in leisure therapists, physios and physical activity.

“We could provide additional staffing so as to ensure that patients were allowed to be taken out of the garden and supervised for at least an hour a day — I mean, surely, a prisoner gets at least that.”