Early signs providers are meeting new workforce targets

Most aged care homes are meeting their mandatory staff requirements, says regulatory body chief Janet Anderson.

Most aged care homes are meeting their mandatory staff requirements, says regulatory body chief Janet Anderson.

Since 1 October, residential aged care facilities were required to deliver an average of 200 minutes of care per resident a day – and at least 40 of those minutes has to be provided by a registered nurse. And RNs are required to be onsite 24/7.

Janet Anderson

“The majority of aged care homes are already meeting these new workforce responsibilities,” said Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson in a statement released on Thursday.

Ms Anderson added: “These new requirements mean that people living in aged care will have better access to personalised care to meet their individual care needs. Family members of aged care residents can have greater trust and confidence that their loved one is receiving the right level of care.”

Before the mandatory care minutes were introduced, data showed that aged care homes were delivering approximately 194 care minutes per resident per day – including 37 minutes of RN time.

In August, the sector reported that – on average – an RN was onsite and on duty 98.08 per cent of the time, 23.5 hours a day – just shy of the mandatory target.

The commission will be working with providers to ensure that they are taking reasonable steps to recruit and retain staff to meet the measures, said Ms Anderson, and it will continue to take a fair and sensible approach to regulating providers’ compliance with their workforce responsibilities.

“It is only in circumstance when an aged care provider is not working towards meeting the care minutes targets, or there are concerns about the quality and safety of the care being delivered, that the commission will consider taking regulatory action.”

As Ms Anderson pointed out, the 200 care minute target is a sector-wide average. Each aged care home has been allocated its own quarterly targets based on an assessment of the needs of its residents in the previous three months. “This means that homes with higher-needs residents will need to deliver more time, and those with lower-needs residents will have lower targets,” she said.

The federal government has acknowledged the challenges that some providers – particularly those delivering services in rural and regional areas of Australia – may face in recruiting and retaining suitably skilled staff said Ms Anderson.

“There is support available to help providers to meet the new workforce requirements. Providers who are concerned about meeting the requirements should contact the Department of Health and Aged Care to discuss the support that may be available to them.”

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Tags: aged care quality and safety commission, care minutes, Janet Anderson,

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