Do we need a register for aged care workers?

It’s an issue that’s being discussed in our office this week after news of another aged care worker pleading guilty to assault after ‘rough handling’ a resident. 

Norah Barlow, the CEO of Estia Health which owns the aged care home where the woman worked wants a national register for aged care workers to ensure employers can check on their previous work history and any dismissals. 

It’s a good idea. 

We already have a system to provide background checks and employment records for childcare workers – why not for aged care? 

The majority of providers already do police checks on staff and follow up on their references – but it’s not always obvious whether a person does have a history of abuse. 

Creating a more transparent system 

Ms Barlow says that currently if aged care workers leave their employer due to ‘rough handling’, they don’t need to disclose any details about their previous employment. 

We need to raise the bar – not only for our loved ones, but also for the majority of workers who are doing the right thing and may be worried about being blamed for something they didn’t do. 

The Federal Government is currently developing an aged care workforce strategy and introducing a national register of health care workers is on the list. 

But with more of us getting older and relying on home care services too, we think it needs to be implemented sooner rather than later. 

The onus is also on families – as they say, if you see something, say something.  

Don’t be afraid to put your hand up if you have a concern – then we can all have an aged care system we can trust.

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A special thanks to our contributors



Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.