In their initial submissions to the Governments Productivity Commission Inquiry 2010 Caring for Older Australians, the ANF and QACAG have recommended an overhaul of the aged care sector, including more funding for nurses.
‘Inadequate staffing levels, inappropriate skill mix,’ reports ANF
The ANF has highlighted the concerns of its members about the current delivery of aged care services in residential settings. ‘Inadequate staffing levels, inappropriate skill mix, excessive workloads, declining standards of care, and excessive documentation, are frequently reported,’ it said.
‘These concerns, combined with the differences in wages between the aged care and acute sectors, have all contributed to difficulties recruiting and retaining qualified nursing staff to work in aged care.
‘Long-term reform in the aged care sector will not succeed without the provision of a robust, highly educated and skilled nursing workforce, transparency and accountability of funding, additional funding for wages and attractive career paths in aged care.’
In its submission to the Productivity Commission, Quality Aged Care Action Group (QACAG) features several comments from its members, many of whom are current or former aged care nurses.
QACAG also makes recommendations around good models of care, staff ratios and skill mix, staff recruitment and retention, licensing of AiNs, and the establishment of an Aged Care Complaints Commission and Aged Care Commissioner.
‘As the number of nurses employed in aged care decreases, so does the appeal for nurses making this their career choice. The erosion of nursing positions de-professionalises and devalues the work, and ultimately this devalues the care of older people.’
(DoN, QACAG President)
‘A main issue for me is the funding tool, it needs to be simplified to reduce paperwork, to increase the quality of care and guarantee adequate staffing levels.’
(RN, QACAG Metro)
‘A colleague told me that the facility has 113 beds and with ageing in place, and 93 of these residents have now been assessed with high care needs. Recently the staffing mix has been changed to remove the RN position off the night duty roster, and to have a CSE (care service employee) as Team Leader (ie. not a nurse) and just have an RN on call.’
‘I have seen so much change over 30 years, and the biggest change by far is less staff per shift, and more residents with more complexity to look after.’
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