Nursing home shame: Elderly left in their own waste

IMAGINE having your mum or grandmother falling and breaking her hip because she doesn't have someone to get her to the toilet.

Or being left in her own waste because there is not a nurse available.

It's a scenario being seen far too often in our aged care facilities.

Funding and staffing cuts, and sometimes the pursuit of profit ahead of people's basic care, means we are facing a crisis of confidence in nursing homes.

While there are many great staff in our homes, it seems they are being asked to do too much for too many.

A national survey of staff, residents and relatives of people in aged care, released by the Queensland Nurses Union, has shown some disturbing results.

Personally, I've already heard the stories of nurses being pushed to the limit.

The QNU says it is not uncommon for one registered nurse to be allocated to 100 residents in aged care. The figure could be as high as 200 to one RN.

According to the union, in most states there's not even a requirement to employ a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in private facilities.

How has experience with aged care been?

This poll ended on 30 June 2016.

Current Results

Terrible. There are not enough staff for the patients


Pretty good actually


Profits are being put ahead of care


It should be run by the government


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Without proper staffing, our elderly can expect to live in facilities which are not cleaned properly or regularly enough, where medicines can be mixed up, where there is unhealthy or inadequate food, and a lack of emotional care.

Excessive red tape means staff are having to spend too much time on paperwork, rather than with patients.

Now not all operators are to blame.

Some do a very good job given a declining funding pie.

But there have been some shocking examples of failures.

At one facility on the Gold Coast faecal matter and blood stains had been left for several days.

There were also not enough food or liquids for residents, more than a dozen of whom had 'unplanned weight loss'.

Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle fears more of the same if the funding situation is not addressed.

"The situation is already dire, however unprecedented $1.2 billion Federal budget cuts will see funding for some residents with high care needs drop from $46 a day per resident, to just $16 per resident.

"With the system already under such significant pressure, we fear these cuts will put the lives of vulnerable elderly Australians at risk.''

She called on everyone to raise their concerns ahead of the July 2 election.

If you want to raise your concerns via the QNU's campaign, you can do so here


We would love to hear of your story about aged care services.

Has it been good or bad? Do you think there should be more funding? 

Should aged care be run by private companies or the government? We'd love to know your thoughts.

Follow the link above if you want to submit a more detailed story, or just leave a comment below.

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