Nurse to resident ratio could close our aged care homes: MP
Set nurse to resident ratios are not the answer to the country's aged care crisis and could cause major problems in regions like Mackay, Dawson MP George Christensen says.
The MP's comments came in response to protesters who rallied outside his electorate office on Monday to demand at least one registered nurse be present at all times at all private aged care facilities.
A Royal Commission report this week revealed elderly Australians are starving, dying in pain and suffering assaults in neglectful nursing homes.
In a distressing 2733-page report in eight volumes, Royal Commissioners Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs concluded "substandard care and abuse pervades the Australian aged care system''.
From the 148 recommendations, it was recognised there was a need for 18,000 extra places for new aged care workers to be trained.
Mr Christensen said he had concerns about set nurse to patient ratios and described the area of aged care as "complex".
"It's fine to come up with slogans, but a set nurse to resident ratio could cause major problems, and this is particularly so in the regions," he said.
"If tomorrow we flick the switch on these ratios, a lot of these aged care homes would be faced with kicking out residents because they can't find staff, including nursing staff.
"So what happens when a regional aged care facility says they can no longer operate?
"This area is complex and deserves more than placard waving."
Mr Christensen said the Federal Government had a plan to fix the "broken" aged care system, starting with using the recommendations of the Royal Commission as the basis for reform.
He said the government had immediately injected an extra $452 million into the system.
The government's response will cover five key areas - workforce, home care, residential aged care quality and safety, residential aged care services as well as sustainability and governance.
"The aged care system is broken. The Royal Commission has found that, and the (government) is going to fix it," Mr Christensen said.
"But it's very complex and can't be remedied overnight.
"Over the years, I have heard the concerns of both families and aged care providers, conducted forums, and provided follow-up assistance when it's called for.
"Now following the release of the final report into the issue, the (government) is getting to work to build a better aged care system and undertake major reform."