Lead researchers Associate Professor Leisa Sargent, Professor Bill Harley and Dr Belinda Allen said the study also revealed these worsening working conditions appeared to be driving many aged care workers from the sector, with 20 per cent of the study’s sample ceasing to work in aged care between 2007 and 2010.
“These participants reported that they could no longer bear the stress of having to work in environments that were chronically understaffed,” Associate Professor Sargent said.
“One respondent said they had left aged care because, after 24 years, they had become despondent and disheartened with staffing levels and the timeframes expected of staff to provide appropriate quality care.”
The study also found evidence of a declining registered nurse to resident ratio in private sector facilities which, according to Professor Harley, was a likley cause of the large staff turnover.
“This is cause for concern in a sector already struggling to retain staff,” he said.
The research project – conducted over four years – was jointly funded by the Australian Research Council and the Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch), and collected data from registered nurses, personal care workers, directors of nursing, and residents from aged care facilities across Victoria.
Dr Allen said report findings indictated a number of measures that could be taken to improve the sector including; the need to increase the ratio of nursing staff to residents in private aged care facilities in Victoria; and to ensure adequate resourcing and funding to improve the quality of lives for both staff and residents.
“Additionally, based on the findings of this research we would recommend that employers in the aged care sector be encouraged to improve management practices, specifically those concerning recruitment and selection, training, performance management and grievance procedures,” she said.
Copies of the report are available on request.
For more information contact:
Associate Professor Leisa Sargent, Department of Management and Marketing: T: +613 8344 5576, M: 0422 807 699; [email protected], Professor Bill Harley, Department of Management and Marketing: T: +613 8344 4214 or
Emma O’Neill, Media Unit, University of Melbourne: T: 03 83447220 M: 0432758734 e: [email protected]