Only two Queensland public aged care homes have achieved 100% compliance with the new minimum daily resident care hours standard.
The shortfall in care hours is being attributed to a shortage of aged care workers in Queensland and is potentially impacting the standard of care being received by hundreds of residents in the state, The Courier Mail has reported.
In 2019, the Queensland government introduced legislation requiring public aged care homes to provide a minimum of 3.65 hours of nursing care per resident per day.
The data was obtained from the Queensland government’s Inform My Care website, which allows for comparison of the state’s public and private aged care homes. It relates to the three-month period between July and September 2020.
However, two of the homes achieved less than 5% compliance.
As the new legislation is currently being phased in, the homes offering fewer than the minimum hours of care will not be considered ‘non-compliant’. The legislation will only begin to be enforced from February 2022.
A spokeswoman for Queensland Health told The Courier Mail, “Public residential aged care facilities are working hard to ensure they can comply with the minimum standards, when they become mandatory in February 2022.”
Last week, Queensland’s Health Minister, Yvette D’Ath, criticised the 84% of the state’s 494 private aged care homes that have been reluctant to supply their data.
“With the horror stories that have come out of that Royal Commission, the public want to know that when they put their loved one into aged care, that they’re going to be cared for properly.”
Director of the United Workers Union Aged Care division, Carolyn Smith, told The Courier Mail there would be far worse figures in private homes, where staff are struggling to keep up with patient care.
“They are covering up significantly worse figures than what’s been reported by the publicly-run homes,” Smith suggested.
Secretary of the Queensland Nurses Union, Beth Mohle, said COVID-19 had made it difficult to recruit aged care staff.
Queensland’s 3.65 hours of care requirement is higher than the 3.33 hours of care recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care in its final report.