Aged Care Crisis wrote to the Minister questioning the astonishing revelations of NO staff rostered to look after residents in a Queensland nursing home.
We asked that if the (then) Minister wasn't prepared to set safe or minimum staffing ratios in aged care, to at least apply transparency about how homes are staffed, especially in some cases where there are none, so that family members are able to make informed decisions about aged care placement for their loved ones.
More information: Staffing
Fast forward to 2017 and the situation is unchanged regarding staff/resident ratios in nursing homes across Australia.
Owners hold the purse strings, appoint managers, and determine financial policy - a critical determinant of staffing and care.
19 December, 2012
The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
Canberra ACT 2600
Dear Minister Butler,
It has come to our attention that Southport Lodge, an aged-care facility which underwent an audit by the Accreditation Agency in September this year, was found to provide no staff at all to care for its 31 residents between the hours of 8.00 pm and 6.30 am.
As a result, recurring incidents of resident neglect occurred - including absconding, wandering and falls related injuries. This is all the more extraordinary as this audit was a re-accreditation audit - one which is well known by the facility management and planned for weeks, or months, in advance.
Aged Care Crisis has long decried the absence of mandatory staff/resident ratios and skill levels in government-funded aged-care homes. However, we never envisaged that a situation would occur where there was no staff at all on duty for considerable amounts of time.
Because there are no mandated safe staff/resident ratios or skill levels in aged care, frail, older people who reside in our homes are not afforded the protection offered to most, if not all, other vulnerable citizens who receive care.
We ask that, in the absence of such mandated safe resident/staff ratios and skill levels in aged care, facilities should, at the very least, provide information to families, and to the community in general, on the number of staff involved in direct patient care.
This initiative would enable the community to make informed decisions about placement and care of their loved ones.
We also ask that you investigate further this instance of gross neglect of frail older people and provide assurance that such neglect will not occur again.
Residents require care at all hours during the day - to leave them without support and care is a dereliction of duty.
Aged Care Crisis Team.