Health Minister Greg Hunt (foreground) with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Health Minister Greg Hunt (foreground) with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP

We’re in a state of aged-care shame

ASSAULTS and rapes of nursing home residents surged by one-third last year to a record 3773 cases - equivalent to one in every 55 occupants.

And aged-care operators reported 1450 residents missing in 2017-18 - 31 per cent more than the year before.

News Queensland has obtained the damning new data that prompted a shocked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to call a royal commission into aged-care abuse and neglect this week.

It reveals a 177 per cent rise in the number of nursing homes deemed to be a "serious risk'' to residents' health and safety, with the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency detecting a serious risk at 61 homes last year.

The agency shut down 12 homes - an average of one per month, requiring 300 residents to be rehomed in other facilities - and slapped sanctions on 26 others.

The unpublished data shows that 209 nursing homes flunked government quality audits and have been placed on a "timetable for improvement''.

Sixty failed to get re-accredited for the standard three-year term, and will face an early re-audit, with 43 of them - or 71 per cent - in Queensland.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) with Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt. Picture: Kym Smith
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) with Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt. Picture: Kym Smith


Two Queensland nursing homes were hit with sanctions and five given notices of noncompliance.

Jimbelunga Nursing Centre in Eagleby, run by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service in Brisbane, was given a sanction in June that banned it from receiving Commonwealth subsidies for any new residents for six months.

The Aged Care Quality Agency found an "immediate and severe risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of care recipients'' relating to health and personal care, behavioural management and living environment.

The centre has been ordered to train "care staff, managers and key personnel to support them in meeting the needs of care recipients'' and to appoint an adviser to help it "comply with its responsibilities in relation to care and services''.

Queensland Health's Cooinda House at Kippa-Ring was given a six-month sanction in July 2017 for failing standards of infection control and breaching residents' privacy and dignity.

Bupa Runaway Bay was given a notice of noncompliance last month for failing standards on residents' living environment, catering, cleaning and laundry services, and systems for comments and complaints and staff management.


Cooinda House at Kippa-Ring north of Brisbane
Cooinda House at Kippa-Ring north of Brisbane


The Churches of Christ Villa Carramar Aged Care Service at Stanthorpe received a noncompliance notice in July for failing standards of clinical care, health and personal care, and systems for staff management and information systems.

Kowanyama Aged Care Centre was given a noncompliance notice in April for failing to meet standards including management, corporate governance and regulatory compliance.

The Inala Elders Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation and the Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council were given noncompliance notices for failing to furnish financial reports on their aged-care centres on time.

Nursing homes reported a staggering 3773 "reportable assaults'' against residents during 2017-18 - one-third more than the year before.

The assaults include violent attacks, unwarranted physical force physical and sexual contact without consent, perpetrated by staff or visitors to the aged-care home.

The data does not include assaults by fellow residents with mental health problems or dementia, as the law does not require nursing homes to report attacks by anyone with a "cognitive or mental impairment''.