The Commonwealth Government has re-stated its commitment to examining staffing levels in nursing homes.
The Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot said a review of staffing levels would come after there was a better understanding of the impact of the new Aged Care Funding Instrument, which was introduced in March.
But Mrs Elliot refused to commit to mandated minimum staffing levels, stating that there is great variation in care needs across different facilities.
“Staffing levels and skills are affected by factors such as the level of care and needs of residents, the nature of the buildings and the way work is organised,” said Mrs Elliot.
“It also depends on the mix of residents’ needs – whether it is low care, high care, dementia or psycho-geriatric.”
The federal secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation, Ged Kearney welcomed the minister’s announcement.
“Ensuring that aged care residents are cared for by an appropriately skilled workforce and that there are enough people caring for them is key to keeping these deserving Australian’s well and out of hospital,” she said.
The minister indicated that she is keen to consult with providers, residents, their families, unions and staff about staffing levels.