The Federal Government’s commitment of an additional $106 million in funding for the provision of safe and quality care for older Australians has been welcomed by the Australian College of Nursing (ACN).

“The funding announced today is expected to positively impact on the way in which aged care services are provided,” said Australian College of Nursing CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN. “It is encouraging to see the Government is focused on reforming the aged care sector, and is appropriately investing in ensuring all Australians have access to high-quality care as they grow older.

“Aged care is complex and will only grow more so as our population ages and older Australians have more complex acute and chronic diseases – including dementia, mental health conditions or other high-level behavioural disorders – multiple co-morbidities and need to take more than one medication each day.

“The Commonwealth’s commitment to attracting more skilled workers to the sector and providing training to the over 350,000 staff working in aged care as they transition to new Aged Care Quality Standards will help address these challenges.

“We must continue to ensure Registered Nurses (RNs) are at the centre of the care team. This requires adequate numbers of RNs, a mandate that at least one RN is on-site at all times in every aged care facility in Australia, promoting an aged care specialisation at university and attracting new graduates to aged care, and refusing to accept substitution with unregulated workers.”

ACN would also like to see the Nurse Practitioner role more effectively utilised in aged care and a reduction in the amount and volume of unnecessary documentation that takes nurses away from direct care.

“Updating the 20-year-old Aged Care Quality Standards will mean they more closely reflect the quality of care older Australians deserve and our community expects their loved ones to receive. There should be no tolerance for violence, bullying, elder abuse and neglect in aged care facilities,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.

The Australian College of Nursing is also pleased funding will go towards upgrading aged care infrastructure in rural and remote areas to reduce the divide in service quality that can be experienced by those who live outside our capital cities.

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