Author: Editor

Legionnaire’s outbreak prompts air conditioning reminder

Aged care providers being reminded to clean out air conditioning cooling towers following four confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Adelaide in the past week. No common location has been reported by the patients during the incubation period, all of whom are men and are being treated in hospital. Temperature changes are a common cause of the growth of Legionella bacteria, and current weather patterns across South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales and Queensland are creating the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria. South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kevin Buckett said it’s important that proper preventative maintenance and anti-microbial treatment is carried out on water and cooling systems, particularly in times of variable weather. From the time of infection with Legionella bacteria, it takes between two and 10 days for symptoms to appear. In most cases, symptoms begin after five or six days. The first symptoms are non-specific flu-like symptoms including fever, headache and muscle aches. There may also be a mild cough with or without phlegm. Some people may develop diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain. The illness usually progresses rapidly and the chest infection (pneumonia) symptoms become obvious, with high fever, shortness of breath and chest pain being typical symptoms. It is difficult to distinguish a Legionella infection from other types of pneumonia by symptoms alone and other medical tests are required to diagnose the disease. Such tests include sputum, blood and/or...

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Blue Care to close three wings in Bundaberg facility

Blue Care has denied rumours that it will be closing its aged care facility in Bundaberg by the end of this year, though says it is struggling to meet the changing needs of local residents as demand for low care residential care declines. The not for profit provider, which is part of UnitingCare Queensland, is preparing to close three wings in its 90+bed facility, Millbank Village. Thirty six residents will be relocated as part of the transition. The announcement comes less than a year after the provider closed the doors of its Bayhaven facility in Hervey Bay. A Blue Care spokeswoman told local media the affected residents and their families had been informed and it was “working closely with them to organise transitions to new homes, at no cost to residents or their families”. She said it has become difficult for Millbank Village to respond to the changing needs of people looking for residential care, though would not confirm a timeframe for the wing closures. “Many in the community with low-care needs now choose to remain at home supported by other services, thus reducing the demand for low-care residential facilities such as Millbank,” she said. “Blue Care’s first priority throughout this transition is to ensure the wellbeing of Millbank residents, including minimising disruption and unease for those affected and their families.” “At this time there are no plans for...

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New coastal boom town for retirement living

Newcastle is being tipped as the next ‘residential and lifestyle hub’ for retirees with significant development going on in and around the city. All signs of its former industrial image will soon be gone with major upgrades to the waterfront areas that were previously the heart of BHP’s local operations. A new public transport system was launched for the city last month that integrates bus, ferry and light rail timetables in an Australian first, which is part of the city’s urban renewal plan. There will be approximately 2500 new apartments coming onto the market in the next two to three years, compared to about 250 per year previously, all of which have already sold to owner-occupiers – mainly baby boomers, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review. With median 2-bedroom apartment prices about $200,000 less than Sydney, nice beaches, good transport and public services it’s no surprise that growth of the city over the next three years is tipped to be 15 per cent, compared to two per cent in Sydney, says BIS Shrapnel managing director, Robert Mellor. However, local providers are already experiencing the effects of the city’s boom, with more than 100 aged care jobs currently being advertised in the area, primarily for registered nurses, care workers, physiotherapists and OTs. A staff member at Interactive Community Care, a local provider in Newcastle, said new direct care services...

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My Emergency Dr app shows promise

A new app is enabling aged care residents to access emergency specialist doctors around the clock without having to go to hospital. The My Emergency Dr app, invented by Royal North Shore Hospital emergency physician Justin Bowra, gives people the ability to access an emergency doctor who can write prescriptions, order X-rays and pathology tests and refer patients to other specialists 24-hours a day. During trials of the app, more than half the patients who used it were saved a trip to the local hospital emergency department. Group Homes Australia had seven of its aged care sites across Sydney involved in the trials. Dr Bowra told the Daily Telegraph that the service has the potential to revolutionise emergency medical care. “We see the service as being particularly useful for those who live a long way from the nearest hospital emergency department,” he said. If a doctor believes the patient needs to go to hospital, the app allows their medical details to be sent to the...

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New method to track wanderers

A small town in Japan has begun giving out bar coded stickers to citizens who have dementia in a bid to help keep them safe if they wander off and become lost. Iruma, a town north west of Tokyo, has a population of 150,000 with about 3,000 people thought to be in advanced stages of dementia. Last year local officials began issuing Quick Response (QR) code seals to families of elderly citizens to be worn on a fingernail as a discreet form of identification. If someone comes across a person who is seemingly lost and confused but has a QR code on their fingernail, they can use a mobile phone to scan the code and find out who to call. The words “City of Iruma” and its main switchboard number then appear on the phone. A city official who answers the phone has access to records that identify the person and their contact information, so they can call a relative to collect the elderly person. The seal is attached to a fingernail, and unlike a name tag it does not reveal the person’s identity or address to the public. The QR seals are available at no cost but can only be requested by individuals or their families. When the fingernail needs to be cut, a new seal is...

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