A nursing home has been revealed where none of the residents receives visitors.
A nursing home has been revealed where none of the residents receives visitors.

Best gesture you can make this Christmas

FAMILIES have been urged to check on elderly relatives in nursing homes for bruising or neglect, ahead of the royal commission into aged care abuse.

Age Discrimination Commissioner Kay Patterson said family members should visit on a regular basis if possible.

"That way you can pick up if they're losing weight, they're hungry or have unexplained bruising,'' she told The Sunday Mail yesterday.

"Be vigilant and not assume that because now they're in a nursing home, somebody else is responsible.''

Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt revealed his sadness at finding a nursing home where no resident ever had a visitor.

He said it was estimated that nearly 40 per cent of elderly people in nursing homes were depressed.

"Think about the personal circumstance if you were left on your own, with no one to say happy Christmas,'' he told The Sunday Mail.

"So, even if it's only 30 minutes, go and see a loved one… give them a hug.''

Ms Patterson said she was shocked that 40 per cent of nursing home residents did not get any visitors.

"One of the biggest risks for people being abused is isolation and loneliness,'' she said

"They're more vulnerable… unless people are around to visit, who might notice if they've got bruising and are upset.''

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt

Ms Patterson warned some aged-care providers were "not up to scratch'', and urged families to stay vigilant.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ordered a royal commission into abuse and neglect in aged care.

Nursing homes reported a record 3773 assaults against residents last year - equivalent to one in every 55 occupants.

This month, the Federal Government issued the first new quality standards for aged care in 20 years, requiring nursing homes to treat residents with "dignity and respect'' and provide levels of care that are "safe and right''.

Ms Patterson said some people were unwell or lived too far to visit elderly relatives in nursing homes.

"But if they're well enough and it's physically possible, they should make sure their loved one is visited very regularly,'' she said.

"If you're there on a regular basis you'll notice changes, you'll notice if they're depressed.

"Many aged care facilities are doing the right thing with staff who go beyond the call of duty to give compassionate care to the residents.

"There are some others who don't … some facilities are not up to scratch,'' she said.