Aged-care homes need more nurses on duty, not just to ensure families can visit their loved ones in a COVID-safe manner, but because residents’ basic needs are not being met in many facilities, the nurses’ federation says, the Australian reports.
The aged-care royal commission laid out a series of recommendations to the federal government to address failings in an aged-care system in which more than 660 residents have died from COVID-19, including immediately funding more staff to allow family and friends to safely visit residents.
The commission’s report also called on the government to fund mental health and allied health supports for residents who suffered “tragic, irreparable and lasting effects” from lockdown.
The Minister for Aged Care, Richard Colbeck, said the government accepted all of the commission’s recommendations, and was providing $40m towards implementing them.
However, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation said on Friday that the royal commission report’s recommendations didn’t go far enough to protect older Australians.
“Nursing homes desperately need additional nurses and care staff to provide safe, effective care outcomes for residents, not just to enable more visitors,” federal secretary Annie Butler said.
“While that is critical for the wellbeing of residents, more staff are urgently needed just to meet basic needs for residents in many nursing homes,” Ms Butler said.
“In Victoria, where privately run nursing homes set their own staff ratios, there were more deaths and higher rates of COVID-19 than in government facilities, which have mandated minimum staffing levels, including registered nurses on every shift.”