Reportable nursing home assaults up 83% in two years

Article published 28 January 2020

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IN late November 2019, the Aged Care Minister published the annual Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 for 2018-2019.

Assaults in nursing homes (only the reportable ones!) were up 30 per cent from last year, 2017-2018. And last year they were up 40 per cent from the year before, 2016-2017.

In fact, reportable assaults have increased by 83 per cent from before the start of the Aged Care Royal Commission.



Reportable assaults

2016 – 20172853
2017 – 20184013
2018 – 20195233



Obviously, reportable assaults have been under-reported since recording them started ten years ago. You can’t go from less than 3,000 to more than 5,000 in two years’ time without there being something seriously wrong.

The interesting thing is that this development is not commented on at all in this year’s report or in the previous report.

The explanation of this exponential increase in the reporting of assaults is somehow related to the scandal engulfing the aged care industry because of what happened at the Oakden nursing home in South Australia in 2017. Following this, audits of nursing homes were conducted in a much more realistic and effective way.

However, auditors are unlikely to witness assaults. Assaults happen away from official scrutiny. It is therefore not clear what has prompted the industry and staff working in the industry to apparently become a lot more diligent in reporting assaults.

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