5 Key Actions Most Urgently Needed
The ANMF has five reforms which must be addressed by the Morrison Government in Budget 2021 to achieve the necessary change in aged care.
Primary proposals for action which have been supported by the Commissioners’ recommendations and which will drive a successful program of reform throughout the Aged Care sector once implemented:
1. Mandated staffing ratios - minimum staffing levels and skills mix
- Announce laws that require guaranteed minimum staff ratios and skill mix in every aged care facility, on every shift – day, afternoon and night.
- Mandate the requirement for registered nurses to be on site, at every facility, for every shift.
The ANMF’s research recommends this can be achieved by ensuring, through legislation, that residents receive an average of:
- 4.3 hours of care per day
- delivered by a mandated minimum skill mix of 30 percent registered nurses (RN), 20 percent enrolled nurses (EN), and 50 percent personal care workers (PCW)
- the provision of at least 54 minutes of RN care per day.
2. Legislated requirements for clinical governance, leadership, and expertise
The Morrison Government must:
- Legislate requirements for quality clinical governance through effective clinical leadership and expertise at all levels.
- Put in place effective clinical governance that ensures the safety and wellbeing of aged care residents.
3. Legislated transparency and accountability measures
The Morrison Government must make transparency and accountability a requirement to receiving government funding in aged care and home care. This includes:
- Any allocation of additional funds must come with a clear mandate of accountability and transparency and that all funding provided for the purposes of direct care is the subject of accountability and acquittal arrangements.
- Funding must be linked to quality of care outcomes and determined through an evidence-based methodology.
- Funding for wage costs must be demonstrated to have been used for that purpose and a failure to account for the use of tax-payer funds must have consequences.
4. Guaranteeing workforce capacity and capability
- Wage outcomes for aged care workers must be improved to match public sector wages and funding guaranteed by the Morrison Government in budget 2021.
- The aged care sector should be supported to overcome the systemic barriers to achieving wage parity and improved working conditions.
- Minimum training of Certificate III for all aged care workers.
5. Registration for unregulated care workers
- The establishment of a national registration scheme for personal care workers.
- The registration scheme for care workers must be designed to protect the public and residents of aged care, and ensure residents are being cared for by suitably trained and skilled workers.