Aged care staffing call

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - AM­BER WIL­SON

TAS­MA­NIA’S nurs­ing fed­er­a­tion has re­newed calls for manda­tory min­i­mum staffing ra­tios in aged care homes to re­duce “se­ri­ous ne­glect of res­i­dents”.

The call comes ahead of royal com­mis­sion hear­ings to be held in Ho­bart next week, which the or­gan­i­sa­tion said would likely air “har­row­ing sto­ries” and ev­i­dence about the state of Tas­ma­nian nurs­ing homes.

It was an­nounced in Au­gust that Bupa South Ho­bart was the worst per­former in terms of meet­ing ac­cred­i­ta­tion stan­dards dur­ing the 2018-2019 fi­nan­cial year, meet­ing only 28 of 44 re­quire­ments.

The Royal Com­mis­sion into Aged Care Qual­ity and Safety, which will be held in Ho­bart from Novem­ber 11 to 15, will ex­am­ine Bupa, which was sanc­tioned last year.

It will also ex­am­ine South­ern Cross Care, which runs Yaraan­doo Hos­tel in Som­er­set and Gle­nara Lakes near Launce­s­ton, which were both is­sued with non­com­pli­ance no­tices over the past year.

In both case stud­ies, the royal com­mis­sion will hear ev­i­dence from res­i­dents’ fam­ily mem­bers, cur­rent and former staff, ad­vis­ers, ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tors ap­pointed un­der sanc­tions.

The com­mis­sioner will hear about de­ci­sions made that im­pacted qual­ity and safety of care to res­i­dents.

“Nurses and care work­ers are not able to pro­vide the qual­ity care to res­i­dents they would like to pro­vide sim­ply be­cause it is phys­i­cally im­pos­si­ble and the Aged Care Royal Com­mis­sion in­terim re­port goes some way to sup­port­ing this,” said Emily Shep­herd, Tas­ma­nian branch sec­re­tary of the Aus­tralian Nurs­ing and Mid­wifery Fed­er­a­tion.

“The is­sues are wide­spread and long stand­ing, and providers have both the fi­nan­cial and op­er­a­tional means to ad­dress these now.”

But Richard Col­beck, Tas­ma­nian se­na­tor and fed­eral Min­is­ter for Aged Care, said the union should show “more re­spect” to the com­mis­sion process and not “de­lib­er­ately mis­rep­re­sent” the in­terim re­port.

“No rec­om­men­da­tions were made in sup­port of staff ra­tios in the in­terim re­port,” he said. “It is im­por­tant to recog­nise that when it comes to staffing in aged care, it is not one-size-fits-all.”

He said the Govern­ment had im­ple­mented new stan­dards from July that fo­cused on res­i­dents’ needs and en­sured ap­pro­pri­ate lev­els of care.

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