Aged care nurses to go because of funding cuts

The admission from a leading NSW provider that $1.8 billion ripped from aged care by the Turnbull Government will see it reduce the number of Registered Nurses (RN) it employs now confirms that ongoing funding cuts are compromising the level of care for elderly, vulnerable nursing home residents, according to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF).

In a report published online in Australian Ageing Agenda yesterday (Wednesday 8 June), the CEO of Scalabrini Village, Chris Rigby, referred to the impact of changes to the ACFI (Aged Care Funding Instrument) on the business.

“We would have to change our models of care. We would have to change our staffing. We would have to change our staffing. … we are able to care safely and well for people with very high complex care needs.
“In the future, I don’t know what we are going to do. We wouldn’t be able to accept such residents and we wouldn’t be able to afford to employ the registered nursing staff at the levels that we currently employ them.”

Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said it meant the worst fears of the ANMF and its members had come true.

“For the past three years since the election of the Coalition Government, we have been warning about how these massive funding cuts will result in a reduced amount of care for the most vulnerable residents in nursing homes,” Ms Thomas.

“Sadly, it’s now reality with this terrible admission that the number of RN’s will be reduced and that patients with complex health issues and high care needs won’t be able to be cared for by this provider.

“As we know, the sector is suffering a shortfall of 20,000 nurses and our members on the ground are telling us that it’s now not common for one RN to be looking after 100 patients in a nursing home – it seems that’s about to get even worse. The Government’s own modelling shows that the budget cuts will see the funding for some frail residents with high care needs in nursing homes drop from $46 a day per resident, to just $16 per resident. That’s a disgrace.

“In the lead-up to the election, we’re calling on the Government, the Opposition and the Greens to commit to restoring funding so we can avoid highly-qualified RNs losing their jobs – and ensure our elderly Mums and Dads and Grandparents get the quality care they deserve.”
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