University Of Melbourne Study Reveals Depressing Aged Care Picture

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27th November 2009, 08:30am - Views: 776

People Feature Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) 1 image

ANF (Vic Branch) is Victoria’s peak nursing industrial and professional body representing more than 48,000 members

Media inquiries: ANF Media Officer Robyn Asbury 03 9275 9333 or 0417 523 252

Media Release

Attention: news, health,

aged care, politics

Friday 27 November 2009

University of Melbourne study reveals depressing aged care picture

University of Melbourne researchers have found Victorian registered nurses and personal care workers employed in

residential aged care are under significant stress from high workloads, cost cutting and a hostile work environment.

The “Working in aged care 2009: phase two of the ANF-University of Melbourne study’, will be launched today at

11am at the Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) Aged Care Nurses Conference.

The report, the second in a longitudinal study by University of Melbourne researchers Associate Professor Leisa

Sargent, Professor Bill Harley and Dr Belinda Allen, found that between 2007 and 2009:

registered nurse to resident ratios increased. In 2007 ratios ranged from 1 nurse to 6 residents to 1 nurse to

39 residents. In 2009 ratios increased to 1 nurse to 9 residents to 1 nurse to 47 residents. Most changes

occurred in privately operated nursing homes while staffing remained largely stable in the public sector


significant decline in the number of division 1 registered nurses working in nursing homes and a

corresponding increase in the number of personal care workers

an increase in some types of resident aggression towards nurses and personal care workers

nurses and personal care workers reported that they were significantly more likely to want to leave their job.

Participants employed in private-for-profit nursing homes reported the strongest desire to leave

participants reported “believing it is important the elderly are properly cared for” as the reason they stayed.

Victoria has one third of the more than 2800 residential aged care facilities in Australia. 

ANF (Victorian Branch) Acting Secretary Yvonne Chaperon said: “The majority of a stressed and very depressed

workforce is staying because they care. The warning signs that this sector is in crisis are loud and clear and we can’t

pretend this is not having a negative impact on the quality of residents’ clinical and personal care.

“We can’t keep relying on underpaid nurses to keep working in understaffed nursing homes. The Federal Government

must show it cares too by making minimum nurse resident ratios, improving aged care nurses’ and carers’ wages and

funding accountability a 2010 budget priority,” Ms Chaperon said.

“We have fewer nurses employed in aged care now when 70 per cent of aged care residents require high levels of

care compared to 58 per cent of residents a decade ago. If we can’t get this right today how will we get it right in the

future with the number of aged care residents predicted to reach more than 250,000 by 2020,” she said.

‘Working in aged care 2009: phase two of the ANF-University of Melbourne study’ will be launched today at 11am at the Australian

Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) Aged Care Nurses Conference, 540 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.

Media contact

Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) Assistant Secretary Yvonne Chaperon on 0439 617 408

Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) Media Officer Robyn Asbury 0417 523 252 (to request copies of the report)

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