The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has released the National Aged Care Staffing and Skills Mix Project Report, which addresses the issue of reduced staffing levels and skills mix in Residential Aged Care. The project was undertaken as a result of the “monumental failure” of governments to establish evidence based staffing levels and skills mix in the aged care sector.
Based on the findings, the study recommends that:
- Residents should receive an average 4 hours and 18 minutes of care per day as the evidence based minimum care requirement, compared to the current 2.84 hours which is currently being provided
- Skills mix of Registered Nurses 30%, Enrolled Nurses 20% and Personal Care Worker 50% is the minimum skills mix to ensure safe residential and restorative care.
ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said, “Whilst the number of people in residential aged care has nearly doubled from 134,810 in 1995 to 263,788 in 2014, consecutive governments have failed to legislate the minimum number of staff with necessary skills. As the report shows, missed care is a regular occurrence in residential aged care.”
“Aged care nurses and carers told us that 93% of workers think current funding does not meet the needs of residents, particularly those with high-care requirements,” Ms Thomas said.
The ANMF had provided the report to the chair of the current Senate in the hearing session in October. Ms Thomas said that they welcomed the opportunity to present their submission on the future of the aged care workforce and to personally explain how the devastativing funding cuts through the Aged Care Funding Instrument have, and will impact on the level of care being delivered at nursing homes across the country.
Ms Thomas said that the ANMF’s nationwide survey findings were disturbing as “aged care nurses and carers told us that 93% of workers think current funding does not meet the needs of residents, particularly those with high-care requirements. They said inadequate staffing levels has caused a dramatic decline in the standards of basic care and that they cannot spend adequate time bathing and feeding their patients and even being able to spend a little time with them.”
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