Staff:resident ratios

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Fewer staff, bigger workloads, time for caring wiped out, sometimes with serious consequences.

There are claims that cuts to qualified staff led to the death of a Queensland woman from septicaemia just two months after her aged care facility failed 15 of 44 industry standards.

As an ABC Online report notes, the centre was found to be lacking in the level of food, fluids and personal care, with not enough “appropriately skilled and qualified staff” and insufficient monitoring and reporting of “clinical incidents”.

It two other reports in the Sunshine Coast Daily another Queensland aged care facility – with a previously unblemished record – that had cut 722 hours from its fortnightly staff roster last year subsequently failed eight of 44 industry standards.

The reported shortfalls, worryingly, were in medication management, clinical care and specialised nursing care needs.

Staff-to-resident ratios in both cases drew the wrath of residents, families and, in the latter case, the district’s federal member.

Conversation starter

Are you satisfied with level and quality of clinical or nursing care provided in your – or your loved one’s – aged care facility? Are there sufficient staff to provide a decent service? What needs to change? Have you been able to raise your concerns with anyone and, if so, what was the response? Did care improve afterwards?

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Care in aged care facilities

Personal safety and security

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Families, carers and residents often chose a particular aged care facility because they were assured of the steps it takes to ensure personal safety and security.

Increasingly, though, reports have emerged of insecure facilities, poor background checks and other residents with problematic behaviours.

One NSW centre last year failed a number of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency’s key benchmarks, including staff working without criminal history checks, residents right to privacy not being respected, under-resourced cleaning and catering teams and repairs not being promptly addressed.

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one felt that personal safety or security was less than anticipated in an aged care facility? What were your experiences? Was the matter raised with the facility’s management or an external body? If it was a serious incident, were police notified? Was a formal complaint lodged? What was the outcome or consequences?

Have your say on aged care-2

Care in aged care facilities