My heart goes out to the families across the globe who have lost loved ones due to a fire at an Australian nursing home. The death toll now stands at nine, while many other patients at the nursing home remain hospitalized in intensive care from injuries related to smoke inhalation and burns.
The nursing home fire was believed to have been intentionally set by nurse at the facility.
A task force is presently being assembled to review fire policies and staff screening procedures at nursing homes in Australia.
While it has been years since a fire in a nursing home has claimed the lives of multiple patients in the United States, events such as this should be a wake up call for facility operators who typically have a large number of disabled patients living in close quarters– making rapid evacuations particularly difficult.
According to CMS regulations, all nursing homes must have fire sprinkler systems in place by 2013 in order to continue to receive government funding. Similarly, every patient room is required to have an operational smoke alarm.
I truly hope evacuation plans are reviewed and corrective measures are taken before we hear of a similar incident closer to home.
Sydney nursing home fire claims ninth victim The Australian, November 22, 2011