‘Not the care they deserve’: Calls for compulsory staff-to-patient aged-care ratios
With the royal commission into aged-care set to shine a damming light on widespread transgressions in the sector, the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation is ramping up calls for compulsory staff-to-patient-ratios.
Though appropriate ratios in childcare centres mandate 1 staff member to every 4 children, no such guarantee exists in residential nursing home facilities. Often, this leads to only 1 registered nurse managing the care of over 100 nursing home residents at any one time. Unsurprisingly, a 400% increase in preventable deaths in nursing homes has materialised over the past 13 years.
Lori-Anne Sharp says that until this understaffing in the system is fixed, elderly, vulnerable nursing home residents will remain at risk.
“We currently don’t have any mandated ratios in residential aged-care. Our aged-care legislation just says there needs to be an ‘adequate’ amount of staff. That does not talk to numbers and can mean different things to different people.”
“One of our studies indicated that nursing residents were only receiving 2 hours and 50 minutes of care per day.”
“That’s well below the 4 hours and 20 minutes they should be getting.”
Ultimately, the federation is hoping the royal commission comes to the same conclusions.
“These are some of our most vulnerable, elderly residents. It’s important we look after them and get them the care they deserve.”
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