Turkey is among the most successful countries in saving the lives of the elderly in nursing and care homes, despite having a high number of coronavirus cases.
Thanks to effective measures taken in nursing and care homes, Turkey prevented outbreaks in facilities.
In the countries most affected by the pandemic, around 50% and more of all deaths from the virus are from the elderly living in nursing homes, according to Turkey’s Director of Services for the Disabled and Elderly.
According to the directorate, in Turkey, less than 10% of coronavirus-related deaths occurred in nursing and care homes.
The country started to implement measures in care homes in February 2020 by restricting visits and monitoring temperatures of residents at least four times a day.
In April 2020, all facilities serving the elderly were instructed to switch to a 14-day fixed shift system and COVID-19 tests were conducted on personnel coming from outside and going out.
If one tests positive for the virus, that individual is treated at the hospital. Those who got their treatment process is completed are followed up in isolation institutions for 14 days after they are discharged from the hospital.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults are at greater risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if diagnosed with COVID-19.
The measures taken at nursing and care homes in Turkey have been shown as a model several times by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Vaccinations completed for people 65+
On Jan. 14, Turkey began a mass vaccination campaign, starting with health care workers and top officials to encourage public confidence in vaccines.
As of March 18, the vaccinations of people who are older than 65 and health care workers have been completed, said Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
Aged 65 and above constitutes 9.5% of the population and was nearly 8 million in 2020, where the country is 66th among 167 countries in the ranking of elderly population ratio, according to Turkey’s Statistical Institute (TUIK).
The country’s case tally passed 3.12 million, with 28,731 additional coronavirus cases on Thursday, while the nationwide death toll reached 30,619, with 157 fatalities in the past day.
Some examples around the world
Around 66% of Canada’s terminal COVID-19 victims lived in nursing homes, among the highest rates in the world.
As the US recorded the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths with nearly 550,000 fatalities, the figures show that eight-of-10 COVID-19 deaths have been in adults 65 years old and older.
In Europe, 30% to 60% of COVID-19-related deaths in 2020 were residents of long-term care facilities, including older age groups, according to the WHO.
Between March 2 and June 12, 2020, 18,562 residents in care homes in England died from COVID-19, including 18,168 aged 65 and older, representing almost 40% of all deaths involving COVID-19 in England during that period, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.
As of Nov. 15, 2020, a total of 40,749 people died from COVID-19 in Spain, according to its Ministry of Health. At first, several studies estimated that around 70% died in care homes.
About half of all COVID-19 deaths in Germany are from care home residents. According to online survey results in the country, the data is similar to findings from other Western countries.
The pandemic has claimed more than 2.77 million lives in 192 countries and regions since December 2019.
In Australia, 909 deaths have been reported, including 678 fatalities in care homes.
According to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University, more than 126.48 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries exceeding 71.65 million.
The US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of cases.