NSW Government fails leadership test on care for frail older people

“The NSW Government has not supported an inquiry recommendation to retain the requirement for nursing homes to have at least one registered nurse on duty at all times, putting at risk the needs of frail older people”, said Ms Jan Barham, Greens NSW spokesperson on Ageing and chair of the inquiry.

“I am greatly disappointed the Government has completely ignored the Parliamentary Inquiry recommendation, supported by its own members, for nursing homes with high-needs residents to have one registered nurse on duty 24/7.”

“Some of these facilities have over 300 residents. Now there’s no guarantee they’ll have a registered nurse on site during the day, overnight or on weekends.”

The Inquiry found that NSW should require 24/7 registered nursing as current federal regulation fails to ensure safe staffing levels and registered nurse care for residents.

“Doctors, nurses, gerontologists, academics, health professionals, older people and their families were unanimous in their call for 24/7 registered nursing.”

“Even NSW Health opposed removing the regulation .”

“There are many tasks that only a registered nurse can do. Without 24/7 registered nursing, residents can wait for hours or days for pain relief or to have a catheter changed or have the specialised care that recognises symptoms of an emerging condition.”

“Older people in NSW deserve the very best care. They should not be sent to an emergency department in the middle of the night because there is no registered nurse on duty to provide the expert care they need. Sadly, that is going to be a reality for more nursing home residents in NSW, which comes at cost not only to them, but also the NSW Health system” said Ms Barham.

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Inquiry report: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2275