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Real Change For Aged Care - It’s Not Too Much To Ask

It's time to make sure our politicians prioritise aged care.

The Government has been too slow to act for aged care. It’s been over 10 months and counting since the Royal Commission handed down its final report, and there is still chronic understaffing, no staff ratios, no laws for an RN 24/7, and no transparency or accountability of funding.

The ANMF is calling on all politicians in the next federal election to make aged care reform a priority and announce laws that require staff ratios in every aged care facility and implement the key recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission. Without key reform elderly Australians and their families will continue to suffer.

Go to itsnottoomuch.com and help us put pressure on the politicians and demand aged care reform this election. It’s not too much to ask.

Tell your MP to prioritise aged care this election

Aged care is in crisis. This election, every federal politician must make aged care an election priority and deliver a system that respects staff and residents and keeps them safe. It’s time to support the federal politicians that support aged care reform. What we need:

  1. RN24/7 – at least one registered nurse on site at all times
  2. Mandated staffing ratios and the right skills mix
  3. Greater transparency of funding tied to care
  4. Improved wages and conditions.

Aged care has suffered from chronic and widespread understaffing over many years and a lack of transparency in how funding has been spent. Every politician must commit to implement the recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Commission, support understaffed nurses and care workers and stop unnecessary suffering of residents.

Stand with aged care nurses, residents and their families to demand your federal politician make aged care a priority this federal election.

Find Your MP - See if your local Member of Parliament is supporting aged care reform this election and send them a message to thank them or encourage them to make aged care a priority.

ANMF Aged Care Work Value Case - Update

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found that award wages for aged care workers were undervalued and recommended unions make applications to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to improve award wages. This finding accords with many previous reports and what our members regularly tell us - that there is a lack of respect and recognition of the complex and demanding work they do and the skills needed to perform that work.

Pain relief when it's needed... it’s not too much to ask.

The Royal Commission into aged care found that there are not enough nurses to administer pain relief when our loved ones need it the most.

A little mealtime assistance... it’s not too much to ask.

The Royal Commission into aged care found that staff shortages left 68 percent of residents malnourished or at risk of malnourishment.

How Australia can implement mandatory minimum staffing levels and skills mix in nursing homes

Recent evidence showed that the average Australian nursing home resident receives only 180 minutes of care per day including 36 minutes from registered nurses. The Royal Commission has found this insufficient to provide safe, quality care to residents. If current Australian staffing standards are mapped onto the US rating system, it reveals that most residents are in homes that would only receive 1 or 2 stars (see Figure 1 in below resource).

Research demonstrates that an average of 258 minutes of care per day is needed for each resident. The same research also found the ideal skills mix would comprise 30% registered nurses, 20% enrolled nurses, and 50% personal care workers.

The Australian Government has responded to the Royal Commission and agreed to their first proposed minimum staff time standard (200 minutes of combined care including 40 minutes from registered nurses per day for the average resident) but has delayed the requirement for providers to meet this standard until 1 October 2023. The Government has not agreed to mandate minimum care time provided by enrolled nurses. The Government has also agreed to require nursing homes to have a registered nurse onsite for at least 16 hours per day but has not said whether this would need to be for day shifts only. It has been proposed that a new Age Care Act would include legislation for these minimum time standards. The Government has also said that from 1 July 2022, nursing homes will be required to report total care staffing minutes by registered nurses, enrolled nurses, and personal care workers on a quarterly basis and that an Australian nursing home star rating system will include this information and publish it on My Aged Care.

While legislating a minimum staff time standard in a new Act and public reporting of staff care minutes is an improvement over the current situation, delaying implementation and only requiring the minimum Royal Commission recommendation, and including no plan to raise the minimum standard from 200 minutes per day including 40 minutes from a registered nurse and only mandating 16 hour per day registered nurse presence is not soon enough and not good enough.

Mandated minimum staffing levels and skills mix in nursing homes must not be delayed until October 2023. Australia’s nursing home residents and staff cannot wait this long.

Authorised by A.Butler, Federal Secretary, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Level 1 / 365 Queen St, Melbourne, VIC 3000.