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Inquiry launched into aged care amendment staffing ratios


The ratios of aged care recipients to staff members in each residential aged care facility is the subject of a new inquiry.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport inquiry into the Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018 proposes quarterly publication of resident to staff ratios.

The bill also proposes the requirement of a break-down of staff by category and their level of qualification such as registered nurses, enrolled nurses, personal care attendant, allied health staff and other staff on the Federal Government’s My Aged Care website.

It also requires providers to notify the Government within 28 days if staffing ratios change by more than 10 per cent (read more here).

The inquiry was proposed by Australian House of Representatives member Rebekha Sharkie following a referral in August 2018.

Ms Sharkie said the Bill aims to inform the public by creating greater transparency towards the choices they make when accessing residential care services.

“My legislation is an important first step in addressing community concerns about staffing ratios in our nursing homes,” Ms Sharkie said.

“Aged care is an important issue for my community, and they are deeply concerned that many facilities do not have enough staff with the right qualifications to care for residents,” she said.

Ms Sharkie said while the Government announced of the aged care quality and safety commission and additional funding boost of last week, it was still not enough.

She said concerns of not being able to meet care standards are among the reasons mandated staffing ratios had not yet been implemented.

“The Government and the aged care sector are reluctant to set a minimum staffing level in case it sets the bar too low to meet the quality of care standards,” she said.

Information about the inquiry is available here. Public submissions close on 4 October 2018.

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4 Responses to Inquiry launched into aged care amendment staffing ratios

  1. Dr Drew Dwyer September 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

    The quality assurance agency has been collecting the data on resident to staff ratios for many years. On the day of audit the home has to fill out the data card that identifies the number of staff , the qualification and designation of staff and the number of resident and acuity of care…..What have they been doing with this data?

    I think you will find that the answer is nothing as the states and silos do not communicate or interpret any analysis of the data between each other?

  2. Janet Pearce September 28, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

    What are the right qualifications to care for residents?
    Qualifications are useful for raising awareness of societal expectations when caring for older persons, but let us not forget the personal attributes of the care workers themselves and their attitudes of kindness, consideration and respect for others. Ask residential staff what it is like to work night shift caring for 70 older people with two or three staff, and an RN floating between 4 wards.
    The right qualification must start with sufficient staff to enable kindness, consideration and respect for older people. This cannot be achieved when staff are ‘run off their feet’. Stressful working conditions are not conducive to good care.
    Set a minimum staffing level to enable quality of care standards to be met.

  3. Nancy Jacobs October 2, 2018 at 10:53 am #

    I do feel a minimum staffing level is essential, people in these facilities deserve the best care, after all a lot of money is involved. How is it being used?

  4. Karen Webster October 3, 2018 at 3:44 pm #

    I am in the education area for VET and our trainers are some of the best with the teaching their experience and their enthusiasm to produce good people to work in the Aged Care industry, I think we need a minimum ratio and make it a reliable number not something that is not sustainable.

    We must all remember that we may have to use these facilities one day and the better the staff the better the care, in the meantime our loved ones deserve to be treated with dignity and not have to wait too long for their needs to be met.

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