The numbers of the aged from non-English speaking backgrounds are increasing at a proportionately greater rate than are the numbers of other aged Australians. Little attention has been directed at identifying difficulties encountered when providing them with residential care. A survey of 163 directors of nursing (DONs) in Sydney nursing homes and interviews with thirty two DONs investigated their experiences with ethnic patients. Tensions were identified in the areas of placement in a home, settling in, nursing care, patients’ relationships with their families and staff, and staff-family interactions. Some implications of these findings for social workers involved in placement are discussed.