Nursing home bushfire plan fail
Evacuating nursing homes during bushfires is a "huge" problem in Queensland with centres failing to properly plan, a Royal Commission has been told.
Aged care homes are required by law to have evacuation plans for their residents.
However, according to Sunshine Coast Council's disaster management co-ordinator Cathy Buck, the problem starts as soon as they leave the building.
"The issue that we faced is … the evacuation plan in the majority of cases ends when they actually exit the building," Ms Buck told the Royal Commission into the Black Summer bushfires this morning.
"So at that point, their plans are basically that they just handed their residents over to emergency services.
"They assume that there's going to be a lot of ambulances that'll come past and pick up their residents and take them to hospitals. That is completely not the case. We do not have the resources for that."
Ms Buck said it was a"huge issue" not just limited to the Sunshine Coast.
"It is obviously Queensland wide. I don't know about other states but certainly within Queensland it's a known issue," she said.
Nursing homes on the coast were forced to evacuate when a fast moving scrub fire started near Peregian in September.
Ms Buck said it was "overwhelming" to try and place nursing home residents in an appropriate home during the bushfire.
"It's very difficult for us to be able to manage that and to be able to get continuity of care for these patients is almost impossible at an evacuation," she said.
"We've done a substantial amount of work with our aged care facilities, some have come on board and they're doing it very well. Others still aren't taking the message on board."
Ms Buck said there was an assumption that the residents could just be taken to hospital.
"We just don't have the beds for that and a hospital is not a place for elderly people it's a place for sick people," she said.
"Particularly with those high care patients, we do need a proper facility for them to go to receive that continuity of care."