Not enough aged care workers – and public aged care homes in this state are struggling

Elderly woman sitting by window

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.

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  1. If all staff in aged care residential homes were offered better wages like no less than $30 per hour. It would have to make a difference. For goodness sake when a 19 yr old boy is earning $73,000 a yr for working as a technician in the army you have to ask yourself what are we doing to our women who work so hard in the aged care industry.

    1. Acknowledgement of work skills , training & the daily routine work done in Aged care is critical.
      Respect for workers with remuneration to sustain living standards is vital.
      Care provided in Aged care facilities is as important as care provided in Hospitals !!

  2. If No data supplied , then they should not receive funding from Govt.
    transparency is vital to make the right choices.

  3. The ongoing complex clinical care needs of many of those in residential aged care facilities should never be seen as less important than that delivered in hospitals.
    Maintaining continual vigilance & oversight of the many chronic conditions from Diabetes, respiratory , vascular , cardiac , Dementia , etc , along with Nutrition , general mobility, Dental, Opthalmic , etc is vital to provide best quality care delivery.
    Acknowledging staff with appropriate liveable wages at all skill levels & recognition of the very valuable work they do in Aged care is paramount to return self esteem & prestige to Aged care as a career path.
    They have proven their value & worth with their dedication to our frail, vulnerable aged residents , especially during COVID 19.
    I am so very proud of their efforts & Providers must recognise their worth & value.

  4. Well of course this is only half the story.

    What private aged care operators in Queensland have done is they have withheld this staffing information and are insisting that the government disclose the amount of funding provided to public homes.

    The two sectors are constantly compared but the government homes are considerably better funded.
    It is unfair to fund one resident in a public home differently to a resident in a private facility. In fact the funding for private facilities should be in excess of public to balance the tax consequences for private that public doesn’t have to deal with.
    The real question is why won’t the government just put the figures forward..guess?

    Public facilities, despite superior funding aren’t providing better care and the government doesn’t want to acknowledge this.

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