Ratios Needed In Aged Care To Help Prevent Elder Abuse


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15) is a reminder that not enough is being done to stamp out elder abuse in all its forms. It can be financial, social, physical, psychological and includes mistreatment and neglect. This not only occurs in homes but in aged care facilities too.

NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) report from 2016 (Who will keep me safe?) found that violence has become ‘normal’ in long term care and there is a danger that ‘fear becomes an acceptable part of daily life’ in our aged care facilities.

A NSWNMA survey of NSW residential aged care facilities has found high levels of resident-to-resident and resident-to-staff violence.

92 per cent of staff have been witness to resident-to-resident abuse in their facility. 90 per cent of staff have been subject to some form of aggression from residents. And almost 76% of respondents cited inadequate staffing as a precursor for elder abuse.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) said it’s important we recognise and call out the systemic mistreatment and neglect of our elderly living in residential aged care because of chronic understaffing.

“This level of mistreatment continues to occur across Australia with little recognition or response. But it is an issue that’s affecting the health, well-being and basic human rights of our elderly and needs urgent attention now,” the A/Federal Secretary of the ANMF, Annie Butler said.

“Our members continue to report dangerously low staffing levels to us, for example where there is just 1 qualified nurse to manage the care of up to 100 residents on a night shift. Or that 1 carer has to feed, bathe, dress and mobile 16 residents in 45 minutes, many of them with complex needs.

Ms Butler said the ANMF’s national aged care campaign is calling on federal politicians to legislate for a minimum number and appropriate mix of registered and enrolled nurses and carers to residents.

“Without making ratios law, providers are employing fewer and fewer nurses to care for an increasing number of residents, who aren’t getting the care they need and deserve,” she said.

“Staffing ratios work well in the public hospital system and in child care centres. And they will be just as effective if they are implemented in nursing homes. Without ratios, we’ll continue to suffer a crisis in aged care.”

Click here to sign up the campaign: Ratios for Aged Care. Make them law NOW.

Nurses and carers working in aged care are urged to report any concerns they have about possible abuse of nursing home residents or others in the community, to the Aged Care Complaints Commission (1800 550 552).

Read or download the NSWNMA report: “Who will keep me safe? Elder Abuse in Residential Aged Care”

See below some important numbers and websites if you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse:

NSW Elder Abuse helpline and resource unit: 1800 628 221

The Aged Care Complaints Commission: 1800 550 552

Recently on June 14, 2018, Elder Abuse Action Australia was launched and it is inviting individuals and organisations to apply to become part of this initiative.


  1. Attracting younger staff to age care what a joke how about attracting nursing staff to age care where they receive proper care. The elderly are human and have many medical needs just like the young. These private nursing homes need to have a big overhaul they dont care about the peoples care its all about robbing them of their money. Things need to change more nursing staff and more staff, less stress less aggression. More time for patients their again less agression . Much better care happier patients and staff. We have gone backwards with all nursing care things really need to change.

  2. Elder abuse can be a lack of appropriate action resulting from unintentional neglect.’ Hence when the shareholders control the running an Aged care facility elder abuse can rear its ugly head…
    More profits means saving money…. easy the ACF proprietors just reduce the number of staff working in the facility. They then increase the job requirements staff have to do in a shift and then insist that the staff care for too many residents on that shift…..If one staff has to too provide care to more than 6-7 people in one shift those owners NOT THE STAFF are abusing the rights and responsibilities of the residents. So yes the company is creating a system of elder abuse and the only way forward is with legislative changes all staff who work in aged care need to get on board and Ratios across all of Australia in aged care and hospitals….


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