When considering an aged care home for your friends or family, what is important to you?

Are you interested in finding out about the rates of malnutrition, pressure sores, and use of physical restraint?

Or are you more interested in finding out how caring the staff are, cleanliness, or about the quality of the food?

Whatever the case, there is very little data available to enable good comparisons of Australia’s nursing homes.

With only one per cent of nursing homes failing to meet their accreditation standards last year – it would appear that government standards are being met.

However, the ABC has obtained access to a Victorian government manual for aged aged care managers that reveals a far more worrying picture of those in aged care facilities.

The report provides statistics for the extent of dangerous conditions for those in aged residential care:

  • Pressure sores in up to 42 per cent of all residents
  • Malnutrition ranged from 40 to 70 per cent
  • Use of physical restraint occurred for between 12 to 49 per cent of residents
  • Up to 50 per cent of residents fall every year
  • And those prescribed more than nine medication ranged from 13 to 75 per cent

Last year, the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes concluded, “The absence of reliable, comparable information about care quality in residential aged care is a striking feature of the current system.”

The government is taking steps to address the shortage of reliable information, with the introduction of a voluntary program for nursing homes to collect data.

The information gathered will be published on the government’s My Aged Care website, giving the public the opportunity to compare nursing homes.

But at this stage, only 230 of Australia’s 2,677 nursing homes have participated, according to the ABC, meaning the data gathered so far is insufficient to provide meaningful comparisons.

Last year’s review proposed that participation in the information gathering program should be made compulsory.

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