The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation has launched a multimedia campaign calling on the Government to prioritise aged care in the upcoming Federal Budget and improve aged care staffing.
The “It’s Not Too Much” campaign, which launched on Monday, includes radio, television and online ads plus mobile billboards in key electorates that highlight the daily struggles of residents due to aged care staffing shortages such as inadequate pain relief or mealtime assistance.
The ANMF is calling on the government to use next month’s budget to:
- mandate staffing ratios in aged care homes
- legislate requirements for clinical governance, leadership and expertise
- legislate provider transparency and accountability for taxpayer funds
- guarantee workforce capacity and capability
- implement a registration scheme for aged care workers.
The campaign is encouraging Australians to show their support by sharing the campaign on social media or writing to politicians.
ANMF acting federal secretary Lori-Anne Sharp said the campaign spoke to the human rights framework.
“We believe that everyone in aged care should feel safe and they should have received the care that they need and that they deserve. But at the moment, that is just not happening,” Ms Sharp told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“Everything is underpinned by adequate staffing. When there’s not enough staffing, there are just not enough people to attend to people’s needs. And we saw that during COVID, particularly in Victoria last year,” Ms Sharp said.
Ms Sharp said the call for staff ratios is also a gender issue.
“The workforce is predominantly 89 per cent female. We know that they’re underpaid and they’re undervalued,” Ms Sharp said.
“We hope that this government and the [Australian Labor Party] connect to the care industry because there has been a lot of investment in more male dominated industries during COVID and post-COVID,” she said.
Ms Sharp said she hoped the campaign brought change to the aged care sector.
“We hope…with this government that we can achieve a minimum staffing ratio in aged care to support the needs of elderly residents. We simply can’t go on. The neglect cannot go on anymore. Everything is underpinned by the lack of staffing,” she said.
Aged care providers can also act now by seeking to have a minimum staffing level and registered nurse on every shift, Ms Sharp said.