The Andrews Government’s $40 million kick start to implement nurse/carer to resident ratios in private aged care to improve the clinical care, safety and dignity of residents has put much needed safe staffing firmly on the table.
The 2020-21 Victorian budget announcement has also prompted the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) to call for state and territory governments to take over residential aged care so that nursing homes are truly integrated with their own public and private health services.
ANMF (Victorian Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said ‘The brutal lessons of COVID-19 tell us Victorians need one integrated health system.’
ANMF and its members have long campaigned to stop systemic understaffing in private aged care. ANMF is urging the Morrison Government to also support funding mandated, minimum nursing levels to care for our parents, grandparents and loved ones and then hand an appropriately funded system to the states and territories
The Federal Government provides the national residential aged care sector with approximately $13 billion funding each year.
There have been 655 COVID-19 related deaths in Victorian private residential aged care. There is no law or regulation that mandates a minimum number of nurses or carers per shift in the sector which is legislated and regulated by the Federal Government. These facilities do not provide details about their staffing levels but typically only have one registered nurse in a management role, not direct care, for often 90 or more residents.
Three residents contracted COVID-19 in Victorian Government run public aged care facilities and there were no deaths. Victorian public aged care facilities have state legislated ratios of one nurse to seven residents, plus a nurse in charge, in the morning, one nurse to eight residents, plus a nurse in charge, in the evening and one nurse to 15 residents overnight.
Market forces have failed private aged care residents so ANMF welcomes the Andrews Government continued investment in public aged care with $134.6 million for a dementia-friendly, 150-bed residential aged care facility attached to Monash Health. Another $900,000 will be spent on the designing and planning a 90-bed public aged care facility in Coburg.
ANMF welcomes 2020-21 Victorian budget’s significant $868.6 million mental health investment to continue the Andrews Government’s work to implement the existing mental health royal commission interim report recommendations.
The budget also keeps bricks and mortar election promises such as the planning and building of Melton Hospital, expansion of Frankston Hospital, the redevelopment of Warnambool Hospital and the planning and land purchase for seven community hospitals.
ANMF also welcomes new announcements including the planning for the redevelopment of the Royal Melbourne Hospital which includes establishing a new site and potentially another for The Women’s.
The Geelong, Wangaratta and Traralgon communities will benefit from funding to open new alcohol and other drug residential rehabilitation services.
ANMF is also pleased to see the increased funding for voluntary assisted dying to expand the care navigator system and statewide pharmacy service.
Victorian age care background
- 56,744 beds [from GEN aged care data Victorian Service list data June 2019]
- 612 private aged care facilities (284 not-for-profit and 328 private-for-profit residential aged care facilities)
- 156 public residential aged care facilities and aged care wards (5609 beds) [info from Vic Health public sector residential aged care services]