ANMF urges Senators to vote for mandated aged care staffing levels in nursing homes

For the sake of older Australians and their families, Senators must vote for mandated levels of highly-trained nurses and appropriately-skilled carers to care for vulnerable nursing home residents, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) said today.

Today in Federal Parliament, Senator Derryn Hinch introduced the Aged Care Amendment (Ratio of Skilled Staff to Care Recipients Bill 2017), aimed at ensuring that safe, quality care is provided to residents in nursing homes across the country.

In moving the Bill, Senator Hinch said: “Unfortunately, many of these Australians who have given so much to society are highly vulnerable, and are not currently guaranteed the standard of care they deserve within our aged care facilities.

“The passage of this Bill would be an important step in moving towards an aged care system that is more focussed on the protection of the elderly than on profit margins of aged care facilities.”

Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said the ANMF’s national aged care workforce survey showed that 92% of nurses and carers said they were now being asked to care for the same number of residents with less staff, less hours and that 90% said current staffing levels aren’t adequate to provide, essential daily care for residents.

“Our members keep warning that inadequate levels of registered and enrolled nurses and appropriately trained care workers means that the basic care they can provide, including feeding and bathing, is being significantly compromised.” Ms Thomas said today.

“Without mandated staffing or care hours in nursing homes, the Federal Government is allowing aged care providers to decide on what an ‘adequate’ level of care is and as we’ve recently seen in Queensland, some providers aren’t doing the right thing – sacking nurses and slashing hundreds of care hours.

“On behalf of our members, the ANMF wishes to thank Senator Hinch for standing up for older Australians – he has listened to the concerns of aged care workers about how nursing home residents are suffering because of nursing and care worker shortages and an ongoing reduction in rostered care hours.”

Ms Thomas said the ANMF and its members will be meeting with Senator Hinch and other Senators and MPs in the coming weeks to advocate for the passing of the Bill through Parliament.

The ANMF, with over 259,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.