The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) will officially launch its unprecedented public awareness campaign calling on federal politicians to legislate staff ratios in aged care as a matter of urgency on 12 May, International Nurses Day.
The ANMF will stand united with members and community supporters at simultaneous events across the nation aiming to draw attention to the crisis in aged care and send a message to all federal politicians to act.
“Our aged care system has been ignored by governments for far too long,” ANMF
A/Federal Secretary Annie Butler said.
“The nurses and carers working in aged care who are rushed off their feet and struggling to care for their elderly residents see the impact of chronic understaffing.
“They see what happens when there is only one carer to wash and feed 16 residents in just 45 minutes. They see what happens when there is only one RN to manage the overall care of 115 residents.”
ANMF state and territory branches will take part in the official campaign launch by holding an activity, such as a rally, targeting federal Labor MPs within key marginal seats in a bid to influence their position on aged care.
The ANMF (Vic Branch) has flagged staging a rally and barbecue in Queens Park, Moonee Ponds, which sits in Labor leader Bill Shorten’s Maribyrnong electorate.
Mr Shorten and aged care allies such as Senator Derryn Hinch and new Batman MP Ged Kearney will be invited to attend.
“Ged is acutely aware of the crisis in aged care and what needs to be done to fix it,” Ms Butler said.
The New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA, ANMF NSW Branch) will target the McMahon electorate, where shadow treasurer Chris Bowen presides, while the ANMF (SA Branch) will seek support from Labor MP Steve Georganas in the seat of Hindmarsh.
Information about the campaign calling for staff ratios in aged care can be accessed online at www.MoreStaffForAgedCare.com.au, with members encouraged to sign up to help make ratios law now.
“The objective is to get aged care members and community supporters out in force behind the ratios campaign in key marginal seats to show those MPs that aged care is in crisis and ratios must be implemented in aged care immediately,” Ms Butler said.
The Ratios for aged care make them law. Now! campaign highlights how fewer nurses and carers are expected to care for an increasing number of nursing home residents with complex needs.
Research shows nursing home residents are receiving two hours and 50 minutes of care per day from nurses and carers, well below the four hours and 18 minutes they should be getting.
The media campaign calling for staff ratios in aged care began last month with a series of TV commercials that aired as Federal Senators returned to Canberra on 19 March.
It also included mobile billboards circulating Parliament House and posts across social media channels.
The voices of the campaign are all involved in the aged care system.
They include a registered nurse (RN), carer, a relative of a nursing home resident, a doctor working in the system, and a community supporter, collectively calling on politicians to fix aged care.
They reveal how in the absence of mandated ratios, inadequate staffing levels are putting the lives of the elderly at risk.
“There’s not enough staff and it is extremely stressful. Things are so much worse than people realise,” says Cherise, an RN working in aged care who also had her grandmother in a nursing home.
“I feel like sometimes I am on a production line, you don’t get enough time to properly care for residents,” says Julie, a carer working in aged care.
The ANMF’s Ratios for aged care make them law. Now! campaign builds on years of activism to improve the sector and protect vulnerable older Australians.
The union’s latest federal budget submission included calls for greater accountability concerning the government funding provided to the residential aged care sector and how it is used.
“While care for the elderly gets worse, taxpayer-funded providers increase their profits,” ANMF A/Federal Secretary Annie Butler said.
“Last year, owners of aged care facilities pocketed over $1 billion in profits while cutting staff. It’s time elderly Australians get the care they deserve.”
Ms Butler said the care of the elderly would continue to be compromised without safe staffing in aged care.
“Nurses and carers are struggling; they’re run off their feet. They are doing the best they can but they cannot provide the level of care they want to. It is just not possible.
“It’s a national disgrace. It’s a crisis that shames us.”
Join the campaign to Make Ratios Law in Aged Care
Like our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/MoreStaffForAgedCare
Visit www.MoreStaffForAgedCare.com.au and sign up to the campaign.
Put 12 May into your diary and take action in your state or territory.
To read more articles from ANMJ, view the full journal online at https://issuu.com/australiannursingfederation/docs/anmj_april_2018_issuu