Elderly forced to wait for nursing home spots

AT least 19 elderly people are in Gold Coast hospitals with aged care packages waiting for their allocated place, according to the latest data.

Another two patients in hospitals are waiting on their aged care packages to be approved so they can be located in nursing homes.

The Earle Haven evacuation.
The Earle Haven evacuation.

The government aged care website also lists the Nerang Earle Haven nursing home as provider despite bans being in place after 70 frail elderly people were evacuated from the Nerang facility this month.

Senator Murray Watt in Federal Parliament when asking about the impact on the availability of aged care places on the Coast was told there was "still some capacity in the region" with the occupancy level of about 88 per cent across 5000 spaces.

Gaven MP Meaghan Scanlon today called on the Federal Government to "step up" and ensure a faster transport of the elderly from hospitals to aged care facilities.

"The Commonwealth is responsible for regulating and funding aged care but for too long they have let private companies prop up their profits, by cutting corners and shifting their costs onto the public healthcare system," Ms Scanlon said.

"If there is only an 88 per cent occupancy rate in aged care places, than why are 19 people still waiting in hospitals for a place.

Gaven MP Meaghan Scanlon at Earle Haven. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Gaven MP Meaghan Scanlon at Earle Haven. (AAP Image/Darren England)

"Why are the waiting times so long for our older Australians to receive a Home Care Package after they've already been assessed as being eligible.

"I have been calling on the Federal Government to step up and start ensuring that the aged care sector is meeting the needs of our elderly Queenslanders.'

Ms Scanlon said the Palaszczuk Government has committed to ratios in the aged care centres run by Queensland Health - but "that's just 16 out of hundreds".

Gold Coast Health says it is providing several key initiatives including after hours and weekend back-up where geriatric specialists can reach out and prevent residents from visiting a hospital.

A Gold Coast Health spokesman told the Bulletin: "We actively work with families and aged care facilities to see elderly people appropriately placed in residential aged care facilities.

Inside the Earle Haven nursing home area.
Inside the Earle Haven nursing home area.

"On average, the process takes three to five days but sometimes this can be longer if people need dementia-specific beds or have complex financial situations.

"There is variation in terms of fees that nursing homes charge for care with a limited number of concessional nursing home beds available."

Relatives must shortlist their preferred residential aged care facility and staff often take the patient out to visit the facility to help with the transition.

"The family then completes various admission procedures including financial information with the relevant facility and we provide support to relatives through this process," the spokesperson said.