RN 24/7 is a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and ensures there is at least one Registered Nurse (RN) on-site and on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at every residential facility, regardless of its location.
The government is now considering an allowance for smaller facilities to be exempt from the policy.
As part of the Albanese Labor Government’s mandate to Australian voters from the 2022 Federal Election, RN 24/7 aims to address one of the most pressing issues in the nation’s aged care system.
This shouldn’t be subject to politicisation; it is a vital step towards fixing a system that undeniably broken.
RN 24/7 is a matter of safety for all residents and nurses alike.
It’s been proven that policy reduces the risk of resident harm by ensuring qualified and experienced care staff are constantly available to identify and address potential risks. It allows RNs to manage particular issues as first responders, improving resident safety and preventing unnecessary trips to hospital emergency rooms.
Nearly 80% of Australia’s aged care facilities already comply with the 24/7 nursing requirements, with an additional 9% close to meeting the nurse-to-resident ratio target. The Government has a plan to assist others in the transition, including a funding supplement for facilities with 60 residents or fewer based on occupied bed days. Facilities with more than 60 residents will not receive the supplement, as their existing AN-ACC funding is sufficient to provide for 24/7 RN care.
RN 24/7 is a common-sense policy, backed by a royal commission and accepted by the Australian public at a federal election.
Take action now
Contact the following MPs:
- Health Minister Mark Butler – Via Facebook here or via email Butler.MP@aph.gov.au
- Dr Mike Freelander – Via Facebook here or via email Freelander.MP@aph.gov.au
- Aged Care Minister Anika Wells – Via Facebook here or via email Wells.MP@aph.gov.au
And tell them:
- why we need registered nurses 24/7 in aged care;
- why that need is the same in regional and metro areas. Residents should have access to an RN, no matter what their postcode;
- the royal commission evidence demonstrated how desperately change was needed in aged care, and RNs on site at all times was a recommendation of this royal commission; and
- without RNs, residents miss out on vital care and need to be transferred to the public hospital system for assessment and interventions that could have been undertaken in their facility. Transferring them from their home has consequences to the resident and the public hospital system.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Services
Following confronting reports about the aged care industry, the commission was established to investigate the quality of care provided and hold providers accountable who don’t comply.
The commission released its final report on March 1, 2021, which contained a comprehensive analysis of the aged care system and made 148 recommendations.
The commission found:
Staffing issues: Identified staffing shortages, inadequate training, and poor working conditions as significant issues. The commission recommended establishing a minimum staff-to-resident ratio, ensuring staff have appropriate qualifications, and improving staff remuneration.
In addition, from 1 July 2022, the minimum staff time standard should require at least one registered nurse on site per residential aged care facility for the morning and afternoon shifts (16 hours per day).
From 1 July 2024, the minimum staff time standard should increase to require approved providers to engage registered nurses, enrolled nurses, and personal care workers for the average resident for at least 215 minutes per resident per day for the average resident.
Substandard care and neglect: Failure to provide safe and high-quality care consistently, resulting in instances of substandard care and neglect. There were reports of inadequate personal care, malnutrition, and unaddressed pain management.
Insufficient funding and transparency: Found the industry was underfunded, lacked transparency, and required a new approach to funding that focused on the needs of the individual.
Poor regulation and oversight: Determined the existing regulatory framework as ineffective, recommending the establishment of a new, independent aged care commission to oversee the sector and ensure providers are held accountable for the quality of care they provide.
Lack of access to care: Found that many older Australians couldn’t get the care they needed, due to waiting lists, a lack of services, or location issues.
Lack of choice and control: Found that older people often had limited choices in the aged care services available to them and little control over the care they received.
Inadequate support for special needs groups Found that the aged care system did not adequately address the needs of people with diverse backgrounds and needs, such as those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and people living with dementia.
Need for better integration with healthcare: Identified a need for better integration between aged care services and the broader healthcare system to ensure older people receive comprehensive, coordinated care.