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IFA Virtual Town Hall Chat Summary 15 May 2020

The following chat summary is from the IFA Virtual Town Hall on 15 May 2020 with Mr. Graeme Prior, sharing lessons learned in the long-term care setting.


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Pandemic Preparedness and Planning for Next Wave

  • Given the preparation and planning that has gone into this pandemic, is there or will there be a plan in place for a potential second wave which could be more dire? If so, are you working with Governments and stakeholders to prepare for this?
  • In preparation for a second wave what would be the most urgent precautions/preparations to be taken in aged care facilities?
  • With the upcoming flu season is there any guidance regarding the interaction of influenza and SARS CoV2?
  • Existing pandemic preparedness plans/guidance largely focused on flu pandemics or acute respiratory infections, without consideration of risk management for a novel virus.


International and Inter-Sectoral Collaboration for Reform

  • Are there opportunities to work with other international agencies to co-design protocols, procedures?
  • How can the dialogue between Ministries (i.e. Health, Social Support, etc) be strengthened in order to improve/reform the long-term care sector?
  • It would be great to hear from some other countries on their responses/challenges/learnings.
  • What sort of changes/reforms could be envisioned within the long-term care sector in a post-COVID19 world, over the medium- to long-term?
  • “Caring” needs to be a dominant value in society at large to drive reform.
  • A future Town Hall Meeting focused on practical steps to pushing reform would be useful.
  • There has been an element of ageism in the public dialogue around the pandemic, which implies that the life of an elderly person has less value than that of a working or young person. It takes the form of, “Most of the deaths are old people, so the pandemic is not as big a deal as people are making it out to be.”   How can this point of view be addressed?
  • Particularly post-COVID-19 governments and organizations need to work towards better standards moving forward.


Health and Wellness of Residents and Staff in Aged Care Facilities

  • During lockdown people have restricted mobility and are indoors most of the time. What are some strategies to boost morale?
  • People with dementia will die in pandemics often away from family. Respiratory failure can be an uncomfortable way to die.  How is palliative care address, and what does the conversation around “easing the dying process” look like?
  • How are the mental health and well-being of residents, families and staff planned for and supported?
  • Are there any antibody testing being done on the residents or staff?
  • What is an appropriate protocol for dealing with a suspected COVID-19 patient? Is it recommended they be kept in the home or sent to hospital?


Standards and Regulatory Frameworks in Long-term Care (LTC)

  • During the pandemic can inspections of facilities be completed virtually?
  • Many LTC facilities have been caught without proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) for staff and workable protocols for isolating positive COVID-19 cases. At a minimum, should LTC facilities be required to have sufficient PPEs and emergency measures to respond to any type of outbreak?
  • Many nursing homes have multiple patients per room, which has clearly contributed to the spread in LTC facilities.
  • It is important to consider architectural design elements (i.e. Small House programs) and household models of care that reduce risk of infections and have performed well during this pandemic.
  • It has been challenging securing PPE from Ministries.
  • There is interest in sharing examples of standards for the care homes.
  • Given there were WHO alerts and briefings at the end of December 2019 and early January to all national governments about the spread of COVID-19, individuals are asking some facilities what steps were taken early on before the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic.
  • What can be done in the context of very limited resources, e.g. some homes have 4-8 people in one room, and one falls sick with COVID-19 but no rooms are available to put the person in quarantine?
  • There is interest in sharing standards around care outcomes towards further discussions dealing with regulatory options.
  • We need to see the opportunities not only for changes in our long-term care systems but civilization itself, as COVID-19 points to climate change and social inequity as broader societal problems.


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