Aged care in nursing homes: new website reports on the underbelly

Article published 15 September 2021

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THE United Workers Union has started a website where personal care workers, nurses, residents and friends and family of residents can record understaffing in their nursing home.

There are harrowing stories about older Australians left in distress and unattended after experiencing serious injuries from falls.

Aged care workers are routinely reporting being unable to complete their work, missing breaks and suffering injuries and abuse on the job due to understaffing.

The Union says the residential aged care sector is getting even worse since the Aged Care Royal Commission was called more than two-and-a-half years ago.

The benefit of this new website is obvious.

People looking for a nursing home can use this website to see how facilities are performing.

A nursing home about which there are complaints on United Workers Union’s website may obviously not be your first, second or even third choice.

What is also remarkable about this website is that it cuts right through the secrecy in which nursing homes operate.

The Aged Care Act 1997 defines anything that “relates to the affairs of an approved provider” as “protected information”.

Anybody disclosing protected information about a nursing home can go to jail for two years.

No kidding.

Revealing understaffing in a particular nursing home is revealing protected information.

United Workers Union protects the people providing these reports by not publishing their name.

But United Workers Union exposes itself to potential criminal prosecution under the Aged Care Act 1997 for the unauthorised disclosure of protected information.

United’s is as useful as it is courageous.

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