There is no doubt that aged care residents are some of our most vulnerable patients. Nursing homes are routinely exposed for providing sub-standard patient care, poor facilities, ineffective security, and long waiting lists.
The most distressing aspect of the problems that affect nursing homes and the provision of aged care is that the patients that use them are often defenceless and more easily exploited.
Australian nursing homes are certainly under pressure and this is reflected by the quality of care afforded to older patients. Chronic underfunding and staff shortages are the primary reasons for the lack of adequate care, problems that are exacerbated by reports of indecency towards those in aged care.
The 2008-09 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act has notified the Department of Health and Ageing of:
- 1,411 alleged assaults in nursing homes during that period;
Of those assaults:
- 1,121 involved alleged unreasonable force;
- 272 involved alleged unlawful sexual contact; and
- 18 involved both alleged unreasonable force and alleged unlawful sexual contact.
Tell us about your experience as a nursing home patient.