Are your parents getting the care they deserve? If not, this may be why… 178



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When we put our parents or loved ones in a nursing home, it can be one of the most heartbreaking days of our lives.

We want them to have the best care and to receive the treatment we cannot provide at home. However some new information has revealed this isn’t always the case, and in fact aged care facilities could do a lot more to ensure satisfaction across the board.

According to the latest annual survey of aged care homes by Bentleys Chartered Accountants, the average profit before interest and tax has increased from $4497 per resident per annum in 2014 to $6278 in 2015.

This equals a huge 40 per cent profit surge for aged care homes. You’d think with all this extra money, nursing care facilities would be able to staff adequately, but it is the reverse – there’s been staffing cuts across the sector despite demand that will only continue to increase.

The survey results also coincide with a spike in false claims by aged care home providers for government subsidies, which rise based on the level of need of the patient.

The profits for 2015 equate to $17.20 per resident per day, which is largely helped by the price increase of the refundable accommodation deposit, which went from from $154,116 to $217,839.

“[Patients] are a lot frailer and their care needs are higher so they are trending towards the higher end of the funding spectrum,” Heath Shonhan, a business advisory partner at Bentleys, explained.

The federal government revealed last month it was becoming increasingly concerned that aged care operators were rorting the $10.6 billion Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) because one in eight claims audited by the government last financial year were incorrect, leading to an unexpected $150 million blowout in the aged care budget.

And while nursing homes say they providing care for the most frail and sick residents, the time truly spent caring for them has gone down by 7 per cent over the past year, in part due to hours worked by care staff – 42.71 hours per fortnight to 39.80 hours per fortnight.

Lynda Saltarelli from the Aged Care Crisis advocacy group told Fairfax, “Australia has no recommended levels for staffing.

“Over half of all nursing homes in Australia have nursing levels so low that most residents suffer harm”.

All of this is compounded by a difficult year for the sector, with the Quakers Hill killer being sentenced and bringing back horrible memories, as well as a damning Government report on physical or sexual assaults on permanent aged care residents. They rose more than 11 per cent in one year.


Share your story with us below: Do you have a family member in a nursing home? What has been your experience?

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  1. Unless we, as relatives and/or advocates speak out and ensure things improve, they never will. Speak out and insist on better care.

    3 REPLY
    • Sure all you have to do is pay more and you can have anything you want, basic care means less staff available for your parent.

    • Not always. Have had experience in both. Seems to depend on the individual carer. Also the supervision is sometimes lacking.

    • Paying more, in my experience, does not mean better care. Agree with you Rosemary Iloste, depends on staff at all levels!!! Not a comforting situation for us as families who trust these people to take excellent of our elderly loved ones.

  2. Not surprised at all. My mother was in a nursing home and I dont feel that the care was up to scratch.

  3. Not surprised, give government money for something and the unscrupulous will rort it. We’ve seen the evidence in other areas why would age care be different. Low staff numbers make it impossible for even the best run homes to be on top of everything, the poorly run profit only driven places just don’t seem to care. My father, unable to walk, was often frustrated by how long it would take for someone to come if he needed something. His home was well run, but on one shift the staff could be occupied many different urgent ways that prevented them from doing basic jobs

    1 REPLY
    • They deserve better. Take the Gold Card off the politicians and give it to our aged citizens who reach the age of say 87 which entitles them to the best care and free nursing home accommodation paid by the taxpayer with the family making decisions for their treasure if they can’t.

  4. I worked as an EEN in an Aged care facility & had to put my 98 yr old mothervin care also so have seen both sides of the coin As a staff member I saw some wonderful cares who had so little time allowed to each resident which did not always give them time to do their job properly let alone sit & talk to residents In my job I felt even more pressure not enough hours to do all that I had to do and then the mountains of ACFI assessments to help get more money to increase staff hours …. load of rubbish With my own mum I saw her every day and made sure she recieved the care she needed as her care needs increased Again not the staffs fault more lack of staff and staff not replaced if someone calls in sick As i have been told its A BUISNESS The Government should be ashamed of themselves I am now retired & often wonder how I ever got thhrough some of the days I had Denise L

    1 REPLY
    • Another aspect of the way care fails the aged, is the medico-legal question. As a retired nurse, I do a little home care now; and we are told loudly and constantly that our welfare comes first, always. That we are not to do the smallest thing for our charges that might possibly impact our own health. That we are more important than our clients. That if a patient falls, we are NOT to try to raise them. That if a fire breaks out, we are to go and leave them in the fire. I have grown increasingly furious at this disgusting attention to the legal welfare of the BUSINESS of aged care. I will do everything within my power to stay OUT of nursing homes! And i am so glad my parents never had to live in one. I do think that most of the staff of these places would have more humanity than to do these things; but we are also threatened with enormous fines if something we do to try to help them, causes injury. I know of one case where the patient ( in a private hospital for cancer treatment) was left on the floor where he had fallen for hours because the staff would not get him back to bed in case they injured their backs. I am of the opinion that our aged care system is no longer about patient care, but purely about profit.

  5. We are a large proportion of the voting public. Vote with intelligence (i.e number BELOW the line) and you can change this. Whinge while voting above the line and you only have yourselves to blame.

  6. So sad, my mum has Alzheimer’s , she is in residential care. I have been visiting at least once a week for nearly 8years. Mum wouldn’t be able to tell me is anyone did anything to her, but the care is definitely not there, as it was when she first went in. Her clothes are thrown in the wardrobe. She had two unexplained marks on her face, maybe she did them herself. She tends to rub and scratch a lot. But she cannot hang her clothes up, or throw them in. I think staff are worth their weight in gold, but there are just not enough of them anymore

    4 REPLY
    • There is also the issue of their clothes and possessions disappearing …..I bought my elderly Aunt a brand new dressing gown and very expensive sheepskin slippers. But the following week they were no where to be found, upon checking her wardrobe all her clothes had been swapped. A tiny women in a size 8-10 now had clothes from size 12-16, enquiries were made as to how this could happen and we were told that they were her original clothes, that she had had them since she came there three yrs ago, I informed them that there is no way that this woman could possibly lose that much weight in a week from my last visit. On mentioning the dressing gown and slippers they inferred that I was delusional until I produced the receipts, which by luck was still in my purse. All her clothes which were of good quality, were labelled with her name and room number. I took the matter up with the administration and demanded to be reimbursed for the cost of her clothes,and other possessions. It took a while, but only after I mentioned legal intervention that I eventually succeeded. Upon investigation it was found that the staff and laundry workers were helping themselves to clothes, jewellery, shoes and or other incidentals i.e. toiletries etc. as well. So if any of you find the same thing happening, do not hesitate to follow the matter further. No person inhabiting these facilities should be preyed upon, because they are frail or are unable to communicate normally.

    • I always found everything you take in is everyone’s. I know exactly what mum has but these little old people are like little magpies if something is lying around in anyone’s room they need to put it away in their room. My mum used to do it too. When they couldn’t find the cutlery they normally found it put away in mums room.

    • Oh ladies every thing u say is so so true u are always fighting with the admin staff
      Because of my issues and I told them the place is a disgrace mum got a beautiful wheel chair off them to use cost about 2,000 keep fighting to
      Make sure your loved ones
      Are looked after

  7. I work in administration in aged care in a very reputable highly recommended facility run by a compassionate and dedicated manager. Our residents get the best of care however even under those conditions there is room for improvement but due to financial restraints we are always under scrutiny from above. Aged care homes are run as any other business and until this changes the mentality in the industry will not change. I think that the majority of care staff are angels doing jobs that the majority of us cannot do every day and they are very undervalued and looked down on. Unfortunately Until a politician has to live in aged care nothing will change.

    9 REPLY
    • My youngest daughter also works in aged age she loves her job but sometimes she has been kicked spat at had her hair pulled and she also said some are rude to some of the carers but she still loves her job she also said they made this beautiful country and deserve respect

    • Lorraine my son works in aged care and also loves the job, he also says the same as your daughter, only he has one elderly lady who wants to keep marrying him, she has dementia , he says he has to move to another section of the nursing home when this lady is like this. He still loves his job and said he Aldo says they need respect. He loves working and talking to the old veterans.

    • Your key sentence: “until politicians have to live in age care, nothing will change”. that’s true of every shortcoming in our society—the law makers who cause the problems never have to live with them.

    • Yes and they are so rich and have so many privileges when they retire that they will never go into aged care facilities that fully supported people go into !!

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