2 December 2020

Rick Morton: “There are 612 private and non-profit nursing homes in Victoria with more than 50,000 beds. Almost 2000 Covid-19 cases were recorded among residents in these homes during the second wave, and they accounted for 655 deaths. A further 1294 infections were acquired by aged-care workers in these facilities. By contrast, in Victoria’s 156 state-run residential aged-care homes, which have more than 5600 beds, there were only three residents who contracted coronavirus and zero deaths. This was an infection rate of 0.1 per cent, compared with more than 6 per cent in the state’s private aged-care network. There is one key difference between the private aged-care market and Victoria’s state-run homes: only the latter has legislated minimum staffing ratios that govern clinical care of residents. … Victoria’s state-run facilities have the highest staffing ratios anywhere in the country. According to research released by the aged-care royal commission, public aged-care homes run by the Victorian government, and a handful in other states, are the best performing in the country in 21 of 24 clinical indicators. They are also the best performing in all 14 of the other quality benchmarks, which include resident feedback and workforce conditions. The royal commission found that, in 2018-19, a total of 119 qualified nursing staff minutes were spent on each resident in each state-run facility every day. This is more than three times what’s spent in the private and non-profit sector, where the Commonwealth requires no minimum staff ratios.”