Tell Bill Shorten to make aged care ratios law now

Time to change the aged care rules

More staff for aged care campaign

ANMF is working on a national campaign to make ratios law in all private and not-for-profit nursing homes.

The problem - understaffing

Chronic understaffing in private for-profit and not-for-profit nursing homes is unacceptable.

Over the last 13 years, chronic understaffing has seen a 400 per cent increase in preventable deaths of elderly Australians in aged care.

No matter how much nurses and carers want to provide quality care, the reality is that understaffing means there is not enough time to feed, bath and change vulnerable residents. They can be left in soiled incontinence pads for hours and pressure sores and skin tears are missed and left untreated. Compromised care can shorten life. 

The Aged Care Act 1997 only requires aged care employers to maintain an ‘adequate number of skilled staff’. Adequate is unenforceable and undefined. Many private for-profit and not-for-profit nursing homes are understaffed because the rules are weak.

Surely staffing would be improved if the Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt and other politicians knew about the impact of understaffing on the health and wellbeing of vulnerable residents?

Sadly, despite multiple aged care reviews and inquiries, and media reports detailing inadequate care and the failings of the accreditation and complaints systems – nothing has changed for twenty years.

We know staffing can be better because public nursing homes and residential aged care wards in Victoria have had nurse: resident ratios since 2001. The Andrews Government legislated these ratios in 2015. 

Do we need more funding?

No. The ANMF is not convinced nursing home employers need more federal funding. Employers need to be more transparent about how they spend the more than $11 billion taxpayers provided to residential care providers in the last financial year. It is difficult to argue for more funding when employers recorded a more than $1 billion profit in 2015-16. 

Do we need to change the rules?Absolutely. The Federal Government is listening to aged care employers but not the nurses and carers at the nursing home bedside. The aged care law needs to mandate minimum staff ratios to protect residents and ensure safe and dignified care.

What you can do?

We have to make aged care ratios an issue the wider community cares about so they demand change from our politicians, members from all sectors are urged to support our campaign, and: