Royal Commission confirms investigation into COVID-19 outbreaks at Newmarch House, Dorothy Henderson Lodge and Opal Aged Care’s Bankstown home – to understand if more could have been done to support them

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A week ago, Commissioners Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs AO flagged possible hearings into the outbreaks which have led to the deaths of 25 residents – now, the confirmation.

The Commissioners have released a statement, say that they will inquire into “certain issues” arising from the responses to COVID-19.

“The Commissioners hope to understand the impact of the pandemic upon older Australians, their families and their carers, in aged care facilities and receiving home care,” they state.

“They will inquire into the measures put in place to protect older Australians, their families and those employed in aged care. They will consider how best to react to such events in the future while balancing the need for safety and wellbeing for all.”

In particular, the Commissioners say they will learn how aged care homes – including Newmarch House, Dorothy Henderson Lodge and Opal Care Bankstown – responded to the crisis – and what more could have been done to support them.

“They will also look at how most home care providers and other facilities avoided an outbreak and seek their ideas about how to manage future pandemics or infectious disease outbreaks,” the statement reads.

The Department of Health and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) will also be invited to provide responses.

However, the Commissioners emphasise that their inquiry will not be a ‘blame game’.

“The focus of the inquiry will be upon the lessons that can be learnt for responding to future pandemics or infectious disease outbreaks. The purpose of the inquiry is not to find fault or apportion blame.​”

No date as yet for the inquiry – we will keep you posted.

You can read the full statement here.

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