World figures show wide range in Covid-19 nursing home deaths.

by Margaret Rice

This story was first published on June 9, 2020.

Earlier this month, the NSW Coroner’s Court announced it will investigate the deadly outbreak of Covid-19 at Newmarch House aged care facility in Sydney’s outer western suburbs, where 19 residents died from the virus.

This is good to hear. We’ll have an objective analysis, with scrupulous attention to detail, a detached umpire in the form of the coroner assigned and a set of recommendations which hopefully will help next time such a disease outbreak occurs.

Managing nursing homes in the Covid-19 pandemic proved to be a challenge across the world. Yet it seems there was a virus to deal with but also assumptions about the aged – some of which, dare Good Grief! suggest, were ageist.

To help put Australia’s performance into context, here is a roundup of Covid-19 deaths from several countries and the percentage of these deaths that occurred in aged care facilities.

We’ve picked this out of the latest report by the International Longterm Care Policy Network, (May 21), that can be found at:

Number of care home (nursing home) resident deaths as a percentage of all Covid-19 deaths.

  • Austria – 41%
  • Australia – 29%
  • Canada – 82%
  • Denmark – 34%
  • France – 51%
  • Germany – 37%
  • Hong Kong – 0%
  • Hungary – 24%
  • Ireland – 62%
  • Israel -32%
  • Portugal – 40%
  • Singapore – 11%
  • South Korea – 34%
  • Sweden – 49%
  • England and Wales – 52%
  • United States – 41%

This shows a wide variation in the Covid-19 deaths of people in nursing homes, from country to country. It also shows that the ratio of elderly people to die from Covid-19 compared to the rest of the population who died from Covid-19, is not inevitable, but rather, culturally determined. That is, it’s a function of priorities. That said the report noted that there are variations in reporting practices.

Here’s a few additional points we’ve gleaned from a review of world news sources.

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