Finally… action in aged care

There was a lot to celebrate yesterday – not only was it International Nurses Day and Mother’s Day –  aged care workers received a pledge from a major political party to start taking action on understaffing.

If elected, Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten committed Labor would:

  • ensure there is an RN present, on site, at residential aged care facilities, 24 hours a day
  • require providers to publish the skill mix of the aged care workforce employed at every nursing home and ensure the appropriate skills mix of properly-trained staff is on duty at all times
  • immediately start work on the implementation of the Matter of Care workforce strategy to address understaffing
  • increase training of aged care staff to improve the workforce’s understanding of dementia, including scholarships for nurses and carers to undertake specialist dementia care training
  • provide TAFE places for 20,000 aged care students
  • increase the number of and access to home care packages and increase staffing levels and skills
  • provide incentives for GPs working in aged care

This is a positive step in the right direction, particularly because it recognises the need to take action now in aged care, rather than waiting for recommendations from the royal commission.

There is still a lot of work to do. We need mandated ratios for safe staffing and for government funding to be directly tied to care.

Read comments from NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes here.