If we want to improve the situation for residents, we need more registered nurses in aged care homes. When registered nurses are on duty, residents have better health outcomes, a higher quality of life and fewer hospital admissions.
How many inquiries, reviews, taskforces, think tanks, consultations and consultant reports does it take for the government to change a light bulb in an aged care home? Over the past year or so, the government has investigated, among other things, the aged care workforce, reforms, accreditation, complaints scheme, innovation, standards of care and elder abuse – and still the light globe remains unchanged.
To ensure an evidence-based approach to aged care policy and practice, we need research evidence rather than more inquiries, reviews, taskforces and think tanks that privilege stakeholder opinions.
To be able to evaluate the proportion of aged care homes that provide high standards of care, researchers like myself need access to data. We need data on quality indicators such as pressure sores, medication errors, weight loss, falls, infection rates admissions to hospitals, staffing levels and training. However, these data are not publicly available.
Who decided that data on residents’ safety and wellbeing in aged care homes must be kept top secret? To answer this question, we need to go back more than 20 years when the Aged Care Act 1997 was drafted. John Howard’s Coalition government proved a turning point for aged care policy in Australia.
I recently asked politicians, CEOs of peak bodies that represent aged care homes, unions and aged care advocates to tell me whether they support/oppose minimum ratios of registered nurses in aged care homes and why they take this position. This is their response.
In recent years, there have been numerous heart-breaking stories about aged care homes. When stories about inadequate personal care, neglect, abuse and negligence are reported in the media, the aged care industry dismisses these stories as ‘one-offs’. But are they?
To answer this question, we need data from people who have first-hand experiences in aged care homes – residents, relatives and staff. They know what day-to-day life is like in aged care homes.
Watch a 5-minute movie of food served in some aged care homes.
Every now and then, a picture of slop served in an aged care home goes viral on social media. I made this short movie for the Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt as evidence that yesterday's scrambled egg slop picture was not a "one-off incident". Slop has been served in aged care home for decades. We need a campaign to STOP THE SLOP. Jane Hilary Seaholme
Posted by Sarah Russell on Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Aged care homes are places where our most vulnerable older people live. How do we ensure the highest possible standards of care?