Aged-care workers need better pay and more training to help change the perception the sector is "the last place that you would want to work", the aged care royal commission has been told.
The inquiry has heard that attracting staff is a pressing issue across the sector.
But the director of Catholic Health Australia Nicholas Mersiades says his organisation doesn't support the introduction of minimum staff to resident ratios, something he's described as a "blunt instrument".
He says there are other ways of addressing the problem, including upskilling of personal care offering better pay.
"In a work value sense, the personal care workers are under-rewarded by about 15 per cent compared with comparable areas in other sectors, which makes attraction and retention difficult," Mr Mersiades said.
"It's very important that we get the most qualified and empathetic people working in aged care that we can."
He also called for efforts to be made to change the perception of aged care, with the sector often considered "the last place that you want to work".
"If you go to a barbecue and you say you work in aged care, they sort of look at you.
"The fact is that there's a lot of negative publicity out there and a lot of mixed messages which is clouding the reputation of the sector as a desirable place for people to work."
The commission hearings continue in Adelaide on Wednesday with more evidence to come from care providers and medical groups, including the Australian Medical Association and UnitingCare Australia.
The issue of pay and training is also expected to be a focus in evidence from union group United Voice.
Australian Associated Press