RN care home presence almost 100 per cent

Registered nurses are in aged care homes 98 per cent of the time, the aged care minister announced Thursday.

Registered nurses are in aged care homes 98 per cent of the time, the aged care minister announced Thursday.

During a press conference at Parliament House Canberra, Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said data – based on 95 per cent of facilities reporting – showed the Albanese government had delivered on its commitment to put nurses back into aged care.

Anika Wells

“We introduced the 24/7 nursing requirement because older Australians deserve around-the-clock clinical care and this data reveals they are now, on average, receiving that care 98 per cent of the time, or 23.5 hours a day.”

She added: “This is what caring for some of our most vulnerable people looks like. I want to thank the nurses who voted with their feet and returned to aged care.”

Government statistics also show that 86 per cent of Australia’s 2,600-or so facilities have an RN onsite 24/7.

Source: Department of Health and Aged Care

“Data from across our aged care reforms continues to demonstrate a positive trajectory that we are confident will lift the standard of care in the aged care system even further with the introduction of mandatory care minutes targets on 1 October,” said Ms Wells.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took to social media to commend the news.

Tom Symondson

Tom Symondson – chief executive officer of Aged & Community Care Providers Association – said the RN results were “positive news and aged carer providers should be congratulated for achieving so much in the face of huge workforce shortages across the country.”

He added: “With strict eligibility requirements for exemption from the rule, there is still work to be done to support those providers who are unable to fully comply due to a lack of workers and are not eligible for an exemption.”

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation said – just a month on from the mandatory RN requirement being introduced – the data showed real progress.

Annie Butler

“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,” said federal secretary Annie Butler.

“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.”

Acknowledging “there is much more work to be done,” Ms Butler added: “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 rollout these crucial reforms.”

Patricia Sparrow

Advocacy organisation Council on the Ageing Australia also welcomed the statistics. “Having registered nurses in our aged care homes isn’t a nice to have, it’s crucial if we’re going to provide our older Australians with the quality care they need and deserve,” said COTA Australia CEO Patricia Sparrow.

“We applaud the federal government for setting ambitious targets and working with the sector to meet them. Aged care reforms must continue. Older Australians and the community have been waiting for a long time for improvements to be realised.”

Craig Gear

Older Persons Advocacy Network praised the industry for the RN result. “OPAN congratulates the sector, and in particular aged care providers, on achieving this positive outcome in the face of significant workforce challenges,” said CEO Craig Gear.

“These figures suggest we can now build to significantly improve care for older people living in aged care homes, who now have rapid access to the right level of clinical support.

Quality uptick

Data also shows improvements with Quality Indicators and Star Ratings, with both quality measuring systems reporting positive increases.

The QI report for January to March 2023 indicates improved quality of aged care for older Australians.

Meanwhile, the latest Star Ratings show there are more residential aged care homes recording four or five stars and fewer recording one and two stars compared to when the system was introduced in December 2022.

“I’m incredibly proud that we can now see Australia’s older generations – our mums and dads, grandparents and loved ones who live in aged care homes – are receiving the high-quality care and safety they deserve,” said Ms Wells. “I commend aged care workers and providers who have taken up this challenge and are working with the government to lift the standard of care.”

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Tags: 24-hour-care, anika wells, Annie Butler, craig gear, featured, registered nurses, Tom Symondson,

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