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A Productivity Commission report in Australia pointed out a distinct lack of skilled staff and palliative care funding in residential aged care centres, writes Rick Morton in ‘The Australian’ .


The report published in March 2018, canvassed a distinct lack of skilled staff and palliative care funding in residential aged-care centres that compromises end-of-life care.

Three senior medical sources at The Prince Charles Hospital, a major teaching hospital in Brisbane, have declared the flow of residents from the nearby Sandgate aged-care home “extraordinary” and “unnecessary”.


The increasing pressure on hospital departments has incensed Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles, who said the practice by providers “appears to be a business model”.


“The providers know that once an elderly patient is admitted to hospital they are unlikely to ever leave, saving the nursing home from the costs of their care.”


"Many privately run facilities don’t have a nurse on duty at night or have one nurse on call for multiple facilities. Residents who need care at night are taken to public hospital emergency departments with minor ailments that could have been treated by a nurse on-site.


“These providers are making big profits, some subsidised by taxpayers, but they are not delivering the services we expect.”


The billion-dollar aged-care company Regis Healthcare is one of the most frequent users of a legal grey area where residents are “dumped” in hospital emergency departments for basic care, saving providers significant money.


Regis general manager Kirsty Nottle said a significant majority of residents in Sandgate aged-care home had high-care needs. “There will be occasions where there is a requirement for transfer to a hospital for further medical treatment.” 


“This can happen where the care needs are particularly complex and beyond what would normally be treated within an aged-care facility and where it is in the best interests of the resident. In most instances, this will be at the direction of a medical practitioner such as a specialist ... and in consultation with the family."



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