In an Australian first, the Queensland Government has just announced minimum nurse to resident ratios in state-owned aged care homes.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the reform on Friday, in the wake of the crisis at the Earl Haven Retirement Village in Nerang.
An ongoing payment dispute between contractor Help Street and the Retirement Village’s owners People Care saw staff walk off the job last Thursday, with more than 70 vulnerable residents forced to be evacuated to other nursing homes and local hospitals.
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Under the new laws, Queensland’s 16 publicly owned aged care facilities will have to provide a minimum of 3.65 nursing hours per patient each day and to publicly report the ratios.
“I want to see a public register, so family and friends can have a look at that particular aged care facility and see if those homes are offering minimum contact hours, and we believe those minimum contact hours a day per resident should 3.65 hours,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
All private aged care homes in Queensland will also be asked to publicly report their staffing information under legislation proposed by the State Government.
“We want private aged-care facilities to share their staffing levels for the sake of transparency,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“If they choose not to, we won’t be afraid to reveal the identity of those unwilling to do the right thing by elderly Queenslanders.”
According to the Premier, only one registered nurse was on duty at Earl Haven’s high-care wing on the day it was shut down.
“My understanding is that there was one registered nurse for about 70 residents. How is that acceptable in the modern age?” she said.
“It’s about time that the workforce is boosted to look after some of our most vulnerable residents in aged care”
Queensland’s state-run residential aged care facilities will begin quarterly reporting of their staffing information this year.
The information will be included on an interactive website, which is being developed to help people compare private and public facilities when making decisions about their healthcare.
More than 350 Queensland nurses will meet with Premier @AnnastaciaMP to discuss new aged care laws today, following the sudden closure of a Gold Coast nursing home last week. #7NEWS https://t.co/HbQT3rTj8V
— 7NEWS Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) July 18, 2019