Aged Care nurses raise their voices in Canberra

Around 60 aged care nurses and carers from across the country have travelled to Canberra to address the ongoing failures by providers to comply with the federal government’s key aged care reforms. The group is standing together to call out providers, many of whom are proving they can’t be trusted to lift the standard of care for elderly Australians, in the wake of mandatory care minutes being introduced. Aged care nurses and carers have arranged meetings with politicians to share their experiences and provide firsthand accounts of the workload pressures they’re facing, which is impacting on the quality of care they can deliver to residents. The delegation comprises nurses and carers from the NSW, QLD, ACT and Tasmanian branches of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF). ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said many aged care providers were cutting corners and failing to comply with the mandatory care minutes that came into effect last year. “Our members are reporting that many providers are failing to meet the mandatory staffing requirements and are instead rearranging rosters to appear compliant. They are removing roles like Enrolled Nurses (ENs) and replacing them with less qualified positions, which is unacceptable,” said Ms Butler. “Providers are also placing increased pressure on staff, by asking them to perform non-care work like serving meals and washing dishes. “We continue to see a system buckling under pressure. We need to see providers step up, meet their obligations and be held to account, so residents don’t suffer poorer care outcomes.” NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said nurses and carers needed to feel empowered to speak up about their inadequate workplace conditions. “We need to give aged care nurses and carers greater agency by allowing them to monitor compliance and identify risks in real time, to ensure aged care facilities are meeting quality standards,” said Ms Candish. “They know exactly what goes on in their facilities. They see the flaws in the system and know what needs to change to enable them to provide the care that every resident should receive. “We also need to see greater financial transparency from providers. The federal government should not be topping up their funds with taxpayer dollars, while they are failing to improve the quality of care for older Australians.” The online tracker, Aged Care Watch, is bringing to light the chronic understaffing and workforce pressures, with thousands of stories shared by aged care workers, residents, and their families. “The situation is absolutely rubbish. Sections are understaffed: 4 care workers for 40 residents.” “We are short in all sections. Staff are leaving because of the workload.” “Nothing has changed at my workplace. It is even worse than before. Not sure where all the budget is going. Past few weeks have been very difficult due to the workload.” “Always have to work understaffed. We have to attend double assists alone. No replacements when people call in sick.” “With no extra qualified staff, existing staff are skipping breaks, staying back after their shifts to complete paperwork, and working outside their scope to complete tasks in the allocated time. The facility has reduced the number of lifestyle staff and food service staff. AINs are now expected to serve food, collect meal trolleys, and take residents to and from activities.” Aged care nurses and carers will call on MPs and Senators to pledge their support and help in the fight to keep aged care providers accountable and meet staffing obligations, to ensure working conditions improve and elderly Australians receive the quality care they deserve.                    

Join over 75,000 nurses and midwives in NSW by becoming a valued member today.

You’ll automatically become a member of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation