US: COVID-19 prompts push to abolish aged care homes after 54,000 resident and staff deaths

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In just four months, COVID-19 has killed around one in 40 aged home residents in the US while more than 600 nursing facility staff have also died from the virus, according to national data.

Now US news site Quartz reports that industry advocates are calling for new initiatives to replace ravaged elder care facilities, with their focus on sustainable home and community care for seniors.

“Why do we have these facilities where people are not receiving proper care?” says Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York.

“Maybe we don’t need them.”

Gerard Quinn, a legal professor who helped draft a landmark United Nations convention on disability rights, has also recently argued for the gradual abolition of nursing homes.

Since COVID-19, Quinn says: “A lot of the elders rights groups now are turning completely around and beginning to understand the importance of living well in the community with adequate supports”.

The US has already made some moves towards the de-institutionalisation of aged care, expanding at-home or in-community care options for people in need of long-term care.

But with 1.3 million people living in aged care and care needs increasing, the story concludes aged care homes that act like resident-led communities or small homes may be the way of the future.

It is worth reading the full story here.