Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) is supporting Boandik Lodge members after staffing cuts were announced at its St Mary’s aged care home in Mount Gambier.
According to an ABC News report, the not-for-profit aged care provider has cited inadequate government funding and rising costs for cutting the shift hours of its staff.
The facility is not the first in the nation to slash jobs and, without federal government intervention around funding and staffing, it won’t be the last.
ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Assoc Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM told ABC Radio that cost-cutting measures are being taken by many facilities across the nation.
“There is a broader question around the management of these facilities, around whether people are spending their money in the right areas, are they investing the money in the right places?”
She references the ANMF-commissioned report which uncovered numerous for-profit providers that are paying very little, if any, tax and accruing an enormous amount of profit.
“There is no relationship between the money given [to these facilities] by the federal government and the care delivery in these aged care facilities,” Ms Dabars says. “There is no requirement to spend it in a particular way, there is no tying of that funding into care delivery.”
She says, as a society, we need to consider the consequences of not investing more in aged care.
“There are costs involved in quality care. But, equally, we as a community have to make decisions around what do we want, for ourselves, for our grandparents.”
“In the broader context, we know staffing numbers and skill sets are not adequate across the aged care sector and residents are being left extremely short in terms of their care.”
She says ANMF (SA Branch)’s independent research revealed that, on average, an aged care resident needed at least 4 hours and 18 minutes of care each day, yet the average being given is just 2 hours and 50 minutes care.
“People are missing out on having their care needs met.”
She says, while the needs of aged care residents have risen by 40 per cent in recent years, staffing numbers in the sector have reduced by 13 percent.
“Nursing staff are run off their feet doing all they can in impossible circumstances.”
ANMF launched its national campaign calling on the federal government to introduce legislated staffing ratios in aged care. If you haven’t yet pledged your support, add your name to the growing list at www.morestaffforagedcare.com.au
Listen to the entire media interview here.