Queensland’s Health Minister says the State Government has been asked to assist the private aged care sector amid outrage over how a Sunshine Coast facility handled a COVID-19 outbreak.
Yvette D’Ath said the government had stepped in to help the sector, and was keen to do more if asked, after reading reports of families volunteering to help loved ones at a short-staffed Noosa facility.
She was also aware of families’ anger over Jeta Gardens nursing home’s handling of COVID-19, which came to a head at a heated town hall meeting last week.
Families were furious over Jeta Gardens’ lack of communication, reportedly claiming they had been “lied to” by management during the COVID-19 surge which has claimed 15 lives at the centre, south of Brisbane.
“Where we can help, we will,” Ms D’Ath said when asked about families’ anger over Jeta Gardens.
“I know a number of my hospital and health services are reaching in and helping aged care facilities right now.”
She said the government had answered the Commonwealth’s calls to assist private aged care with PPE as well as hospital bed and staff resources “numerous times” during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are doing what we can,” the minister said.“
”But we do not have the authority to just walk into any private residential aged care and take control.
“The Commonwealth regulates, funds and … is the one responsible.”
Ms D’Ath welcomed the injection of Defence personnel support in the sector.
“There is a very large number of private aged care facilities that have outbreaks right now,” she said.
“I saw a report yesterday…where families have been asked to come in and volunteer, and families are stepping up and doing that.