Staff blamed for deadly flu outbreak in nursing homes

Person getting flu shot
Flu vaccines are encouraged ahead of winter.

Poor management and low staff vaccination levels are being blamed for this year’s deadly flu outbreak in nursing homes across the country.

A report released by the Government on Monday found that only one-third of staff members at nursing homes in Victoria and Tasmania affected by the flu outbreak were vaccinated.

“These review audits reveal management errors, especially in infection control at the two sites,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The flu season affected aged care residents and staff and the homes’ infection control and contingency plans were overwhelmed but it was unacceptable.

“Staff vaccination rates in both homes were low, with only around one-third vaccinated ahead of the outbreaks, and dozens of staff were subsequently struck down with the flu.”

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This flu season was the worst on record in Australia. SBS reports that seven people died at the Strathdevon facility in Latrobe, Victoria, while a further six died in Tasmania at the Strathdevon facility in Latrobe.

Health minister Greg Hunt has ordered all aged care staff to be vaccinated before next year’s flu season. Until now, vaccinations were optional for staff members.

Experts recommend getting the flu shot every season to protect against new strains of the virus. The elderly and young children are most at risk of suffering severe cases of the flu.

Minister Wyatt said the system needed to change to ensure everyone’s safety.

“Providing safe, quality aged care for our senior Australians is non-negotiable,” Minister Wyatt said.

Do you think the flu vaccine should have been made compulsory sooner? Did you get the flu shot this year?