It is determined by a range of factors including the needs of the residents (which are determined by clinicians), the models of care applied to meet these needs, the design of the facility; and, in some locations, particularly in rural and remote areas, the availability of staff.

We need to work towards ensuring providers have the right number of staff, with the right mix of skills, to meet the different needs of every resident in their care.

That must apply to every different type of residential aged care facility – across low care, high care, specialist dementia care, etc. – where staffing needs will differ.

There are many views on what is the right mix and number of staff in residential aged care. The recently completed Aged Care Workforce Strategy, led by Professor John Pollaers, found what is needed is:

  • Review and research to determine the optimal staffing model and mix for Australia’s aged care system, and
  • Measures to attract, retain and develop the aged care workforce… including consistent qualifications and appropriate pay for what are very important jobs.

We agree with this approach. Getting these elements of workforce right is a priority in order to make Australia’s aged care system better right now.