Only a fraction of aged care homes meet staffing requirements 

7 October 2021

Only 3.8% of Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) have staffing levels at or above the new requirements of the Australian Government, according to research by the Australian Health Review.

And those new staffing requirements fall well short of what the ANMF is advocating for in our It’s Not Too Much to Ask campaign.

In the first instance we are advocating that aged care facilities should have RNs on site at all the times, 24/7, not just in mornings and afternoons as decreed by the Government.

“Many facilities do not have a Registered Nurse on site in the evening,’’ said Adelaide aged care enrolled nurse Mary (not her real name).

“This is particularly concerning as it could result in residents’ pain not being addressed correctly, leaving them in pain all night.

“Residents often deteriorate quickly and you need an RN to assess the seriousness of their condition.’’

In a move to make the sector safer, the ANMF is advocating for a mandated minimum staffing ratio based on an average of 4.3 hours (258 minutes) of care per day per resident, with 77 minutes from RNs, 52 minutes from ENs and 129 minutes from personal care workers.

Currently, there are no minimum staffing or skills mix requirements in federal legislation for aged care homes. And, under current laws, residents are only provided with access to an RN if the care home provider thinks it is required.
 
In its budget response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission the Government has only committed to ensuring an RN presence for 16 hours a day – meaning that the current round the clock care coverage recommended will not be realised until July 2024. Frail, older people living in residential care cannot wait this long.

By joining our It’s Not Too Much to Ask campaign you can stand with us and urge the Federal Government to have a registered nurse (RN) on site in residential aged care facilities at all times.

See how you can get involved

We are also advocating for improved staff-resident ratios, greater skills mix, greater financial transparency and accountability and a 25 per cent pay rise for aged care workers, one of the poorest paid professions in the country despite the vital contribution they make every day to our vulnerable elderly.