More than 80% of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada are from long-term care facilities and retirement homes, according to a new analysis from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
In comparison, long-term care-related deaths in 16 other countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, account for about 42% of all COVID-19 related deaths on average.
Overall, findings point to the need to address “long-standing, systematic problems in long-term care facilities, globally,” according to the International Federation on Ageing.
“The number of deaths in long-term care facilities is both shocking and avoidable,” Greg Shaw, director of international and corporate relations for the group said in a statement. “The need for systematic reform could not be more clear.
The global organization called on all levels of government to develop systems and policies that ensure LTC staff and residents are protected from future infectious disease outbreaks.
In the United States alone, the researchers found that 31% of all deaths come from the long-term care sector. Various analyses have estimated the total number of U.S. nursing home-related deaths at over 50,000 so far.
Researchers believe standard stay-at-home orders among the general public helped depress those rates, making nursing facility rates seem higher, CP 24 reported.
They noted that other countries, like Australia, had fewer LTC infections and deaths after ordering additional precautions, like “broad LTC testing and training, isolation wards to manage clusters, surge staffing, specialized teams and personal protective equipment.”