Home | News | LASA responds to media reports by calling for funding and staffing strategy

LASA responds to media reports by calling for funding and staffing strategy

LASA has issued a renewed call for improvements to staffing and funding levels following media reports on the death of a resident at a Bundaberg nursing home.

Referring to an ABC TV report on the 7.30 program which blamed funding cuts for putting elderly residents at risk, LASA chief executive Sean Rooney said high quality residential care should not be negotiable.

“Australia has a good aged care system. And, we know that a good system can always do better. Situations such as those raised by the ABC 7.30 Report are not acceptable,” Rooney said.

“However, the actions taken by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) show that the aged care regulatory system is working.

“The Government is well aware that current funding for the aged care system is not sustainable and a national solution to pay for the growing cost of aged care is required.

“We need to design and develop a sustainable funding strategy underpinned by detailed research, analysis and modelling. Funding options for consideration should include examples from other countries, such as national insurance schemes, taxpayer levies, user-pays models, taxation concessions/supplements and the like.”

Rooney came to the defence of aged care providers, and said that about 97 per cent of Queensland nursing homes had “a clean bill of health” and raised no issues last year.

Additionally, the rate of complaints in the sector was 569 for every 51,493 beds (.015 per cent), and only nine of 445 facilities had received notices of non-compliance.

LASA has also called for an immediate funding injection in the upcoming 2018-19 Budget, particularly for rural and regional providers, and more focus on delivering quality staff.

“The provision of appropriate levels of care for older Australians in residential care facilities is not as simple as the number of staff on duty, or arbitrary staffing ratios,” Rooney said.

“The needs of people in residential aged care are highly variable and, within a stringent quality control system, a flexible staffing mix can deliver the best quality of care targeted at individual care needs.

“Flexibility to adjust the staffing mix as the profile of residents changes is a very important consideration, as is the adaptability to move to new models of care driven by innovation and new technology.

“We have been advising Government for the past year of the impact on residential care providers of the combination of rising costs and reducing revenues – recent changes to government funding arrangements have cut deeper than anticipated and the ability of our members to deliver accessible, affordable, quality care and services to older Australians is now at serious risk.”

New data released by StewartBrown yesterday showed that 41 per cent of residential aged care providers recorded a loss, as of December 2017, compared with 31 per cent in 2015/16.

Approximately 56 per cent of rural and remote facilities are expected to report a financial loss in 2017/18.

Peak bodies ACSA, LASA and The Guild maintain this situation is “caused in part” by government changes to funding arrangements.

“Over 40 per cent of aged care providers are now making a loss and many more are struggling to remain financially viable, particularly those in remote and rural areas and providers looking after the most disadvantaged, including homeless people,” ACSA chief executive Pat Sparrow said.

“The sector now needs an urgent funding injection, such as an ‘adjustment payment’, while the longer term work on new funding arrangements is being undertaken.”

The Aged Care Guild has estimated that Australia will need another 83,500 beds over the next 10 years to meet rising demand.


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  1. It is as simple as staffing levels Mr. Rooney. It is also as simple as employing properly trained staff who have a medical background(in nursing).
    It is obvious that you have not worked in a facility on the coal face.
    If so many facilities are running at a loss why do they keep building them?
    I think the reduction in funding several years ago for residents with special needs is a traversty.

  2. Elderly Advocate/AIN

    Mr Rooney…you do realise that providers run around covering up stuff when accreditation is nearing don’t you ?…..let’s go back to before the Aged Care Act came in where providers were told where to use their funding, one of them being for enough staffing levels! … No surprises there….The Aged Care Guild is the organiststion advocating for the all of the major for profit providers and Mr Rooney….have ever worked in the backbone of an Aged Care Facility ??
    I believe one of the biggest reasons is due management of a facility. There are managers whose sole focus is on cost cutting to make a profit. Management and they way they run facilities and treat their staff is something should be being investigated…..making a loss? Where can I find the statistics for that Mr Rooney?
    Is this urgent funding

  3. By the time people come to aged care, they are usually quite complex. You still need a minimum staffing ratio for toilet, turning an using lifting machined. Cannot do people on your own. If residents are independent to walk, they often need supervision do due to dementia issues otherwise they would be at home. Been in industry since 1983. I think l know a bit by now. Managers don’t put on staff yo cover an increase in ACFI. I’ve worked in management an on the floor. People fall, usually cause they cannot get to toilet. If you only have one person doing meds, two PCA on afternoon shift. What do you do for meals breaks.? You cannot work on own so wait 30 mins or have accident. I could go on. Same in lifestyle.. How can one person look after 120 people. I have to. Not possible to do individual person centered care. Good ratios are 1 to 30 residents. Add to that the excessive paperwork. I do Up to ten hours overtime each week an l still cannot do the work. Mind you we never get paid for the work. Wages are less now than what l earnt five years ago. Only want to pay lowest wages for lowest level of education often meaning very poor knowledge an usually poor grasp of language an residents culture. They need more support an education. But always about the profit. No one who works in this industry would ever agree that we don’t need minimum ratios. It’s criminal. Thank God both my parents died before ever going into Aged Care. I honestly understand people’s dispair

  4. Mr Rooney it is clear you have a vested interest and a one eyed view that Sir you need to get out more in the real world. Today we work with the best practice of ‘Holistic care’. this is person centered and a strength based focused approach. I know as I am a current and long standing trainer and assessor within the aged sector. I have watched as poor practices conflict with my teaching and have to listen to people like you that prop up the old business model and nursing model that is not sustainable nor current in its focus. The aged people we serve are the ones that should be directing the care where and when they want or need it. Business thinks that it should staff in clusters (more in am shifts and less as the day flows) so it can tell people when to have showers, eat and sleep. This is disgraceful and something that John Howard when he privatised the sector should have thought about but as usual Conservative Philosophy of Government is always the last to have any visionary skills. Privatisation was always about the numbers $$! There used to be ratio’s in aged care once but John Howard in his legislative prowess took that out and left it to the businesses to determine. Well how is that going? So here we are with a non sustainable system directed by business (Boards and Boards of them) all crunching the numbers and working out what our aged should be settling for. Then to add insult to injury there is the fall back medical model which still insists on narrowing its view to attempting in some of its practices in curing people of their ageing processes. Can we please have a discussion about registering our bulk of the work force which is our personal care workers/assistant in nursing staff. Today they are more skilled than ever undertaking more professional roles that nurses used to do and yet they are portrayed as non skilled! Anyone that says this definitely doesn’t work in the sector. Aged care teams should be Holistic in their undertakings, professionally working together all registered and under the same codes of professionalism. It isn’t the majority of the staff that fail in their duties its the business and THEIR POOR PRACTICES and GOVERNMENTS.

  5. The industry received a massive boost in funding in 2014/15 when it also “maximised” the system. There was no improvement in staffing. It all went to market activity – competition and growth and, to compete in doing this, raising loans that needed servicing. When government stopped the maximising incomes fell but loans still needed servicing. Isn’t that why there are financial problems and staff shortages?

    This industry needs to be accountable to the communities they serve. The government should work with and support communities rather than industry. It should manage and regulate in cooperation with each local community by giving them the power and knowledge to manage and closely monitor staffing and standards of care and report on that so that we can all see where the money goes.

    Aged Care Crisis is pressing for a system where providers are responsible to the communities they serve, must work with them in the provision of services and must satisfy them. “Our government” should not bow to pressure from industry until the community it also serves is satisfied that the funds are going to come their way.

    • If the big players in residential aged care spent more on staffing than management updating their AUDI’s annually, the govt wouldn’t need ti chip in more.

      I worked briefly for A big brand of care homes. On my floor there were 3 pca’s for 78 residents. It was untenable. If a fall happened 14 rooms away, no one could help as all staff were all individually toileting other fall risk residents. Uf I keft mine to go elsewhere; there’d be more people on the floor

      Management then complains that staff need more training. Ive been professionally qualified for 12 years and enjoy a “no falls on my watch” reputation.

      But this barnyard of “care” just treated their existing staff aa scapegoats and when a sraff member was sick management refused to book agency staff or use casual bank replacement sraff.

      Talk about punishing the staff that bother to turn up every shift. I want our elders to be treated better by aged care management by having a pca ti resident ratio.

      You bang on about some places dont need so many but they do quickly. Just like public hospital’s have 1/5 ratio AND im sure many times some nurses have it easy. Its a nice reward fir the shifts when even if you cloned yourself, youd still need another pair of eyes and hands.

      Make aged care facilities have 1/7 pca ratios. If you leave it to them to pick up staffing levels, they only do it in the week of accreditation. Make it proper legislation. And getting paid mire than $22.40 an hour after ten years of getting punched kicked hit and my hair pulled in the dementia unit (im a pushover- the residents keep me coming back!) A pay rise would be excellent