Safe Staffing in Aged Care Now!

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I hope when you get old there are enough staff to care for you.

My husband Bill, who has dementia, was left on a veranda covered in his own faeces, for residents and visitors to see.

In May 2015 I was called in to his aged care facility to help clean him due to lack of staff.

It’s not the fault of the nursing staff on shift – they are wonderful and are working very hard. But there simply aren’t enough of them to deliver the care the residents deserve.

Then just last month I was told of blood on his sheets. He had been wearing a urine soaked pad for 12 hours which had caused the skin on his scrotum to tear and bleed.

I trusted TriCare, a multimillion-dollar company, when I reluctantly put him into aged care. I couldn’t look after him by myself anymore.

It’s dehumanising - my husband worked for tourism for years, he was a passionate fisherman - a typical Aussie bloke.

Many nursing homes right across Australia are grossly understaffed. TriCare employs only a few staff to look after 24 patients.

It’s dangerous and irresponsible.

Many Australians may not realise that unlike childcare and schools, there is no law that sets minimum nurse-to-resident ratios in aged care facilities - leaving vulnerable dementia patients like Bill exposed.

TriCare is choosing how to allocate taxpayer funding within their facilities and shamefully putting profits ahead of residents. In 2013, the O’Shea family, which owns TriCare, was reported as number 43 on Queensland’s top 150 rich list. Media reports at the time claimed they had a net worth of $335 million which was an increase of $73 million from 2013.

They can afford to employ more nursing staff to look after those vulnerable Australians in their care.

We are calling on the Senate Inquiry into the Future of Australia's Aged Care Sector Workforce to recommend mandated nurse-to-patient ratios now.