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Queensland government passes laws for aged care transparency, ratios

Queensland’s health minister has promised more aged care transparency for older adults and their families with the passing of new laws by the state government.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said a new website would be like TripAdvisor for healthcare.

Miles said: “This site will enable elderly residents and their families to make informed decisions when choosing an aged care service. They’ll know how many staff and what skills mix they have to take care of their elderly residents.”

Residential aged care facilities will be asked to report their average daily resident care hours quarterly.

The state government is also asking private aged care providers to reveal the level of care residents can expect. “If they refuse that will be disclosed too,” said Miles – private facilities will have their decision to opt-out highlighted beside their name on the new website.

Queensland Health’s residential aged care facilities will also be required to have a minimum nurse skill mix of 50 per cent and for 30 per cent of the total care staff to be registered nurses.

They must also provide a minimum average of 3.65 hours of nursing and personal care to residents daily.

As quoted in the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Journal, Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union acting secretary Sandra Eales said nurses in state-run nursing homes will now have more time to care for their residents.

She added that it’s time for the federal government to follow suit.

“Rather than throw more money at the problem without linking it to better staffing or better accountability, as the federal government has recently done, these new Queensland laws address the core of the problem the aged care sector is currently facing – the need for more transparency, and more nursing hours so older Australians get the care they deserve,” Eales said.

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