Govt recommends registered nurses be in nursing homes at all times

03 November, 2015

Government report recommends nursing homes to have a registered nurse on duty around the clock to ensure high quality care is provided.

"Pensioners warmly welcome the NSW Upper House Committee's report on registered nurse staffing in nursing homes, which recommends that NSW retain its requirement for a registered nurse to be on duty at all times", said Charmaine Crowe, Senior Advisor, Research & Advocacy.

"The General Purpose Standing Committee No. 3 inquiry heard from a range of experts who agreed that the only way to ensure safe care of high needs, vulnerable older people in nursing homes is to have a registered nurse on duty around the clock."

"The NSW Government is currently reviewing the requirement under the Public Health Act for nursing homes to have a registered nurse on duty at all times. CPSA calls on the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner to adopt the report's recommendation that the requirement remain; a recommendation supported by the Government members of the Committee."

"The report recommends that nursing homes be allowed to apply for an exemption from the requirement if they can show that they can still provide high quality care. It is unclear how this would work in practice, given the rapidly changing nature of resident care needs. CPSA is also concerned that this exemption could be exploited by providers not wishing to comply with the registered nurse requirement."

"However, the report is clear: the NSW Government must continue its role in mandating registered nurse staffing in nursing homes because the Commonwealth regulations governing nursing home staffing are totally inadequate."

"CPSA welcomes recommendations regarding improving transparency about nursing home staffing and complaints, improving data collection, providing better training for aged care staff and strengthening the risibly ineffective accreditation system."

"More broadly, this report exposes the failings of the Australian Government's regulation of nursing homes, particularly in the area of staffing. In the interest of resident safety, the Australian Government must mandate that nursing homes across the country have at least one registered nurse on staff 24/7 where there are residents with high care needs."