The aged care royal commission will this week examine workforce issues, including the link between the quality of care and staff numbers.
The aged care sector needs a funding boost to bring staffing up to an acceptable level, a royal commission has been told.
The sector also needs to focus on recruiting the right people, experts have told the aged care royal commission ahead of a public hearing this week focused on workforce issues.
Research commissioned by the inquiry found more than half of all Australian aged care residents are in homes that have unacceptable levels of staffing.
The University of Wollongong researchers said raising the standard so all residents received at least an acceptable level of staffing would require an overall increase in total staff hours of 20 per cent across Australia.
Raising the standard to a good practice level required a 37 per cent increase in total care staffing while getting it to best-practice care, as rated under a US five-star rating system, would require an overall increase of more than 49 per cent, the researchers said.
"It is clear from this analysis and the evidence being presented to the commission that there is a need for additional investment in care funding, the majority of which is required to increase staffing levels to an acceptable standard," the researchers concluded.
"However, this should not occur in isolation from broader aged care funding reform."
In advocating for increased funding, the researchers recommended there be strong mechanisms in place to ensure accountability in terms of improved outcomes for residents.
One of the report authors will give evidence when the week-long public hearing on the aged care workforce begins in Melbourne on Monday.
Last week's hearing focused on diversity in aged care was told recruitment was critical.
Older persons' mental health clinician Duncan McKellar, a member of the South Australian chief psychiatrist's review panel into the Oakden nursing home scandal, said a values-based workforce was key for the aged care sector.
"If there was one thing that organisations were going to do, and I'd hope that they might get beyond that, but if they were going to start with something it would be recruit the right people," Dr McKellar told the commission.
"I think that building a values-based workforce is going to bring passion and care and commitment and humanity back in as a core recruitment element."
A number of experts will give evidence during the workforce hearing, along with union and aged care provider representatives and federal health department secretary Glenys Beauchamp.