Australia’s voice of aged care, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), would like to address Health Minister Steven Miles’ misleading comments in today’s article, Queensland nursing homes dumping residents at hospitals to save costs.
Aged care facilities are not hospitals. When older Australians in nursing homes require urgent medical attention that cannot be provided on site, it is our industry’s duty of care to transfer these residents for treatment in a hospital.
The fact is that older Australians are entering residential aged care with increasingly complex care needs. The Government’s aged care data site (GEN) says that as at 30 June 2016, 92% of older Australians in residential aged care are assessed as having high care needs.
The provision of appropriate levels of care for older Australians in residential care facilities is not as simple as the number of staff on duty, or arbitrary staffing ratios. The care provided must comply with the most stringent national standards. The basis for deciding on staffing levels and their skills mix needs to be driven by the actual care needs of individual residents.
Flexibility to adjust the staffing mix as the profile of an aged care facility’s residents change is a very important consideration, as is the adaptability to move to new models of care driven by innovation and new technology.
Australia’s aged care quality system is resulting in the overwhelming majority of Australians in aged care receiving high-quality care that meets the most stringent national standards.
That said, the aged care sector is also one that is committed to continuous improvement.
I have also sought a meeting with Minister Miles to clarify his concerns.
Chief Executive Officer
Leading Age Services Australia