Finally, we have the answer for aged care

Friday 2nd December, 2016

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has released the National Aged Care Staffing and Skills Mix Project. The project is the first of its kind in Australia and has collected evidence relating to the need for a staffing methodology that considers both staffing levels (the right number) and skills mix (the right qualification) for residential aged care.

The comprehensive project developed an evidence based complexity profile, tested the elements of care associated with the resident profiles, determined what care interventions were being missed and confirmed the need for, and structure of, a staffing model for residential aged care.

The key findings are:

  • Residents should receive an average 4 hours and 18 minutes of care per day - compared to the current 2.84 hours which is currently being provided;
  • A skills mix of Registered Nurses (RN) 30%, Enrolled Nurses (EN) 20% and Personal Care Worker (PCA) 50% is the minimum skills mix to ensure safe residential care;

ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said the project was undertaken by the ANMF in conjunction with the ANMF’s South Australian Branch, the Flinders University Research Team and the University of South Australia, as a result of the “monumental failure” of governments to establish evidence based staffing levels and skills mix in the aged care sector.

“The report’s findings reflect feedback from ANMF members working on the ground in aged care and is consistent with the stories from members about the increasing difficulty they experience in providing decent care to residents, many with dementia and other high-complex needs,” Ms Thomas said today.

“Whilst the number of people in residential aged care has nearly doubled from 134,810 in 1995 to 263,788 in 2014, consecutive governments have failed to legislate the minimum number of staff with necessary skills.  As the report shows, missed care is a regular occurrence in residential aged care.”

The ANMF provided the report to the Chair of the Senate Enquiry into the aged care workforce with the hope the Committee will use the evidence and outcomes and make significant recommendations to legislate minimum staffing levels and skills mix in residential care.

Recommendations from the Committee are due in April 2017.

View the National Aged Care Staffing and Skills Mix Project Report

The ANMF, with almost 250,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia. 

ANMF media inquiries: 0411 254 390.