A central Queensland aged care resident who suffered a broken hip was forced to wait 48 hours before an ambulance was called, a union-led secret audit of aged care facilities across Queensland has revealed.
The audit, undertaken by nurses, residents' family members and community volunteers in 70 aged care facilities across the state yesterday, also found it common practice for residents to be showered just once a week.
Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union president Beth Mohle, who steered the inspection, said residents were bearing the brunt of an understaffing issue affecting much of the aged care sector.
Ms Mohle said staff from a majority of the facilities surveyed reported residents being forced to wait after calling for help.
"We know that aged care facilities are dangerously understaffed throughout Queensland and Australia, and that elderly residents are suffering as a result," she said.
"Behind closed doors, in almost every city and town, registered nurses are being left to look after up to 200 residents at a time.
"While nurses and other staff are doing their best, they simply can't meet the demand for care under those circumstances."
The revelations come as the QNMU increases pressure on the federal government to introduce staffing laws for privately run aged care facilities.
The audit also found:
- More than 75 per cent of aged care staff are not nurses and are unqualified
- Staff with as little as three hours of first aid training are giving injections and administering dangerous drugs across the state
- Residents are going unfed, not being hydrated, getting ulcers and contracting infections from being left in unchanged incontinence pads
- Staff did not have enough time to properly feed residents or turn them over leading to increased likelihood of bed sores and ulcers in 57 per cent of audited facilities
- Residents are being left in pain with fractures for over 24 hours because there of a lack of registered nursing staff onsite to assess or treat injuries
- Understaffing leading to increased falls in half of the residences