Mandatory Reporting on Staffing Ratios

Article published 26 September 2018

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Rebekha Sharkie MP from the Centre Alliance Party has introduced legislation into the federal Parliament to force nursing homes to publish how many staff are rostered on at any point.

The Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018 would provide greater transparency for families moving loved ones into residential care so they can make more informed choices about the facilities they consider.

The aged care sector is resolutely opposed to setting minimum nursing home staffing levels.

Australian Governments, both Labor and the Coalition, accommodate the providers’ opposition to minimum staffing levels, because this reduces the overall amount in care subsidies which they have to pay.

The Bill requires providers to publish full-time equivalent staffing ratios by qualification category on the My Aged Care website every quarter.

If any of these ratios change by more than 10 per cent, the aged care provider must notify the Government, within 28 days.

The categories of qualifications include registered nurses, enrolled nurses, nurses with a Certificate IV or equivalent qualification, personal care attendants, allied health staff, and other staff members.

Different facilities have a different composition of care needs. That’s why the Bill allows nursing homes to add a short written statement to their published staffing ratio disclosures so they can explain the context of their staffing mix.

CPSA supports this draft legislation as so many people complain about nursing homes being understaffed and staff being overstretched, that shedding a light on this can only be a good thing.

It would also help people looking for a nursing home to see which nursing home takes staffing seriously and it would allow advocates to compare Australian staffing ratios with ratios elsewhere in the developed world.

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