I have read with interest late last week the very freshly released Royal Commission research paper (1) into aged care staffing requirements, and the shortfall in funding needed to raise the staffing mix and levels to appropriately care for the average residential aged care service consumer.
The following excerpt from the recommendations paints a picture of what residents, families, advocates, and indeed some providers have been saying for some time – the level of service provision (staffing) in residential aged care in Australia is substandard.
My conclusion is that because that level of provision is so strongly associated with the operating funding mechanism, the funding mechanism for care is equally substandard:
“more than half (57.6%) of Australian residents receive care in aged care homes that have unacceptable levels of staffing (1 and 2 stars).
To bring staffing levels up to 3 stars would require an increase of 37.3% more staff hours in those facilities. This translates into an additional of 20% in total care staff hours across Australia.
We have not limited our analysis to determining the additional resources required to bring facilities up to an acceptable level. We have also provided an indication of the additional resource requirements that are required to deliver staffing levels consistent with good practice and best practice care.
For all residents to receive at least 4 stars (what we consider good practice) requires an overall increase of 37.2% in total care staffing while 5 stars (best practice) care would require an overall increase of 49.4% in total care staffing.” (2)
As you are probably well aware, I am the CEO of Braemar Presbyterian Care (“Braemar”). To put our services into perspective, since I joined Braemar in March 2017 we have been increasing hours per resident per day to a level that is close to the current national average as recorded by the StewartBrown benchmarking service (3) reporting. And, as far as is reasonable, we have been improving our subsidy income to match the staffing. But that recurrent income is not enough.
According to this research paper, prepared for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, less than 3 star level of staffing is unacceptable, while a 4 star staffing is good practice, and 5 star staffing is best practice. Yet 57.6% of residents receive less than 3 star (unacceptable) staffing and only 1.4% receive best practice staffing.
How is this translated into the care of our elders?Continue reading “Staff Ratios – Royal Commission Research Paper”