The Queensland Government has pledged to legislate nurse-to-resident ratios across its 16 state-owned public aged care homes to ensure elderly residents receive the full care they need and deserve.
Premier Annastacia Palasczuk made the announcement this morning at the annual conference of the Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU) in front of hundreds of delegates.
The new laws will enforce minimum nursing contact hours in public aged care facilities, set at 3.65 hours of daily nursing contact time per resident, per day.
As part of the move, the Queensland Government will also force public aged care facilities to publish their staff ratios every quarter and call on private aged care facilities to do the same or face being shamed into doing it.
“This will be an Australian first,” Ms Palasczuk told a packed press conference.
“Now let me make this very clear. Our aged care sector is booming and our elderly residents, I believe, are not getting the full care that they deserve.
“This is about our most vulnerable people. People who have served our state, served our community, and they deserve dignity and respect, especially in their later years of life.”
QNMU Secretary Beth Mohle welcomed the news of mandated nurse-to-resident ratios, especially the greater scrutiny on private aged care homes.
“We also welcome, public reporting of staffing numbers, skill mix and outcomes across all sectors. That’s a pivotal part of our ratios campaign,” Ms Mohle said.
“It’s not only about the numbers. That’s important, staff numbers and skill mix, but it’s also about public reporting. The public have a right to know how many nurses there are caring for their loved ones across public, private and aged care facilities and then what the outcomes are as well.”
The government’s ratios announcement mirrored a presentation at the conference by Dr Matthew McHugh presenting the results of a world-first evaluation of legislated ratios and evidence confirming they save lives.