ACN commends Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s acknowledgement of the need to address nurse staffing levels and training in the aged care sector.
Mr Shorten made his comments on the ABC’s 7.30 program last night: “When it comes to aged-care facilities, no question in my mind, we need to make sure if we have the right number of nurses on duty, are we getting the right training for people, are we charging too much in our TAFE to train people to do this vital work in the future?” Mr Shorten said.
ACN is concerned by the lack of Commonwealth standards or regulations prescribing minimum staffing or skills mix requirements for Australia’s residential aged care facilities (RACFs). It has called for registered nurses to provide leadership and clinical supervision in RACFs at all times.
In July 2016, ACN took the official view that regulation of RACFs should, at a minimum, mandate a requirement that a registered nurse (RN) be on-site and available at all times to promote safety and well-being for residents.
ACN believes that care delivered in RACFs must be led by RNs. Due to the growing prevalence of co-morbidities associated with physical and cognitive decline, polypharmacy, and greater professional accountability, increasingly the residential aged care population requires complex care that can only be provided under the direct supervision of RNs.
ACN Chief Executive Officer, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, said: “Nurses are first and foremost patient advocates and act in the best interest of their patients.
“We are pleased the ALP has recognised the need to address staffing levels and training within the aged care sector, and we continue to demand support for a legislated minimum number of registered nurses (RN’s) in residential aged care.
“All aged care residents have a right to the highest level of care, which can only be provided by an appropriately-skilled workforce, which includes an RN being onsite and available 24/7.”
The Australian College of Nursing’s position statement The Role of registered nurses in aged care is available at https://www.acn.edu.au/policy