Working Together to Deliver Better Staffing in Aged Care Facilities

Nurse, portrait smile and medical for elderly care, retirement home or visit from doctor for appointment or checkup. Happy senior woman smiling with healthcare professional for therapy exam at clinic

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) and its members have welcomed new data showing that the overwhelming majority of aged care facilities across the country have implemented 24/7 registered nursing (RN) staffing levels.

Since the start of the new requirements on 1 July, the Government has reported that ‘86% of facilities now have a nurse on site 24/7’, with the ‘majority of the remaining homes are very close to 24/7 coverage’.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the data demonstrated that the Government continued to deliver on its election commitment to fixing aged care by implementing one of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission.

“After just one month of the new nursing requirements being introduced, this really is a step in the right direction,” Ms Butler said today.

“After many, many years of neglect under previous Goverments, the ANMF is pleased that we now have a pathway which can help ensure that elderly Australians living in nursing homes get safe, quality care, around the clock.

“From our perspective, better staffing will not only result in improved care outcomes for residents, it will also help recruit and retain highly-qualified aged care nurses. The Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells today thanked ‘the nurses who voted with their feet and returned to aged care’.

“There is much more work to be done, but the fact that there has been a significant uptake of 24/7 nursing in just the first month shows how we can achieve improved care outcomes for residents when unions, providers and our other stakeholders work together with the Government to roll-out these crucial reforms. This demonstrates that if we make the appropriate collective effort, RN 24/7 can be achieved,” Ms Butler said.

In addition to the data on 24/7 nursing coverage, the Government said the National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program (QI program) report from January to March 2023, showed there had been improvements in the quality of aged care for older Australians.

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