It’s only natural that we want our loved ones to enjoy a long retirement in a safe and comfortable environment.
That’s why – quite understandably – families, residents and nurses are concerned at the prospect of staffing cuts at the Albury and District aged care home.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association told residents at the Logan Road facility last month that they would not receive the care they deserved if floated cuts to staff took effect.
The fears of residents and their family members weren’t allayed this week when Japara Healthcare addressed a meeting at the aged care home.
One of the biggest concerns from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association was that it appeared staffing would be reduced from one registered nurse (RN) and five assistants in nursing (AIN) to one RN and four AINs on a night shift.
“One nurse per section, or to 30 residents, is not enough when there is a locked dementia facility, and there are two residents in that facility who to be lifted must be assisted by two staff,” association organiser Viola Morris said.
This comes just weeks after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a royal commission into the aged care sector.
The commission, which will report back to the government by April 2020, has been empowered with “deliberately broad” terms of reference allowing investigation of failures in the sector, its future and any other matters deemed relevant.
Here are some questions and issues we would like to see addressed: Are staff numbers in nursing homes sufficient since there is no minimum legal ratio of staff to residents, no minimum training requirement and no statutory requirement to have a nurse on duty at all times? Should there be minimum requirements, since nurses now make up only 24 per cent of staff (and shrinking), and "personal care assistants" are now almost three-quarters of all staff?
The only current legal requirement is the unenforceable rule that staff numbers are “adequate”. Japara staff told the gathering in Albury that “the ‘minimum’ is being met”.
Surely we can aim for better than that.