Governments and regulators have failed our elderly

ANMF Media Release 25 September, 2018

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says disturbing evidence of vulnerable nursing home residents being abused proves that consecutive governments and regulators have failed to act on warnings from nurses and consumers that dangerously low staffing levels are resulting in elderly abuse and neglect.

“Like the rest of Australia, our members were shocked at the footage aired on last night’s Four Corners,” ANMF A/Federal Secretary, Lori-Anne Sharp, said today.

“We have zero tolerance to any form of physical, mental or emotional abuse of vulnerable nursing home residents. What we saw should never be allowed to happen in a civilized society.

“Despite an inquiry into elderly abuse; a damning report and recommendations by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) and ongoing concerns from our members and the families of nursing homes residents, there has been little recognition or response from our political leaders and aged care regulators. It has fallen on deaf ears.

“Successive governments have allowed providers to sack highly-trained nurses and reduce hundreds upon hundreds of nursing care hours. The community has lost trust in the system. We need to mandate staff ratios and ensure adequate training for care staff. Our elderly citizens deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

“Sadly, the stories of abuse and neglect will continue unless the Federal Government listens to our concerns and mandates staffing ratios in residential nursing homes.

“It is little wonder that some families have taken matters into their own hands and what we saw last night suggests they feel they have nowhere else to go. We share their outrage and distress. We urge anyone who has any concerns or complaints to continue to report to the Aged Care Complaints Commission and hold them to account.

“We must call out the systemic mistreatment and neglect of our elderly Australians because of chronic understaffing, inadequate training of carers and reduced numbers of registered nurses in residential aged care.

“What we saw last night is happening right now. The Federal Government cannot wait for the Royal Commission, it must introduce mandated staffing levels now, to protect our elderly.”

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