Qld to name, shame private aged-care homes

Nursing ratios: Qld government vows to name and shame private aged-care homes

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'The rot has got to stop'. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has vowed to take actions, a week after 70 elderly residents were relocated from a private aged-care home on the Gold Coast. Photo: Michael Chambers

'The rot has got to stop'. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has vowed to take actions, a week after 70 elderly residents were relocated from a private aged-care home on the Gold Coast. Photo: Michael Chambers

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'The rot has got to stop'. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk vows to shame private aged-care homes to publish nurse-to-patient ratios.

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THE QUEENSLAND government has vowed to name and shame private aged-care homes that refuse to reveal how many nurses are caring for their residents.

The Labor government will pass new laws requiring Queensland's 16 state-owned aged-care homes to provide a minimum standard of care.

That will be set at the current average of 3.65 hours of nursing, per resident, per day - the equivalent of seven patients per nurse across a 24-hour shift.

State-owned homes will also be forced to publish their nurse-to-resident ratios every quarter, from the end of this year.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk admits she can't force private facilities, regulated by the Commonwealth, to comply, but has vowed to shame them into doing it.

Displaced residents from the Gold Coast's Earle Haven Nursing Home will be briefed by officials.

Displaced residents from the Gold Coast's Earle Haven Nursing Home will be briefed by officials.

"The rot has got to stop," she told reporters on Friday, a week after 70 elderly residents were effectively abandoned at a private aged-care home on the Gold Coast.

The Queensland Nurses Union has claimed only one registered nurse was on duty when that site abruptly shut down amid a dispute between its owner and an aged-care contractor.

The premier said she would not hesitate to name and shame facilities that aren't up front about their staffing arrangements.

"If they do not publish, their names will be up there and it will be blank, and they'll have to explain to the residents and to the residents' families why they have chosen to hide that data," Ms Palaszczuk said.

The 70 elderly residents - many with dementia, some bedridden - were subjected to a distressing evacuation from the high-care wing of the Earle Haven Retirement Village on the Gold Coast a week ago.

The shutdown was caused by a financial dispute between the owner and the operator of the wing, which resulted in the residents being effectively abandoned, with too few staff to care for them.

Officials from the federal health department are due to provide an update on Friday for displaced residents, their families and staff from Earle Haven.

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Residents of the home remain in temporary care at other facilities across the Gold Coast.

Numerous investigations are underway into what happened at Earle Haven, including the actions of owner People Care and aged-care sub-contractor HelpStreet.

The premier has warned Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the Earle Haven debacle could the tip of the iceberg, and that other facilities could be at risk of a similar collapse.

That's a concern shared by the Queensland Nurses Union, which has called for a ban on "opaque" subcontracting arrangements in aged care.

Union secretary Beth Mohle says it is time to shine a light on what's really happening inside aged-care homes.,

"The community have a right to know and that's why public reporting is such a major element of our ratios campaign," she said on Friday.

Federal government promises full inquiry

The federal government has promised a full inquiry into the dramatic closure of a Gold Coast nursing home, which left 70 frail residents abandoned.

Federal government MP Angie Bell says the abrupt closure of a high-care wing at the Earle Haven Retirement Village a week ago was tragic, and must never be allowed to happen again.

"It's very sad what's gone on here for all the residents and their families," she told reporters after a meeting at the home on Friday, to update affected residents, their families and staff.

"There will be a comprehensive investigation ... to find out exactly what went on here at Earle Haven ... to make sure it never happens again."

She said residents had faced a distressing situation after they were evacuated en masse a week ago, amid a dispute between the facility's owner and its aged-care contractor.

"It's a very serious matter," Ms Bell said.

Australian Associated Press

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