Urgently increase targeted government funding for reforms to aged care services across the country.
-Increased funding to meet basic care needs per resident, per day, and supply the resources required.
-Upgrades to ageing infrastructure and stimulate the creation and expansion of new infrastructure to accommodate growing demand.
-Federal and state grants to purchase vital equipment and access best practice care resources.
-More funding for life-enhancing programs such as lifestyle, fitness and nutrition.
-Research grants for studies on care models and their impact on quality of life for seniors in aged care facilities.
-Creation of federally maintained and funded guidelines and resources developed by industry specialists to aid in care planning that truly reflect and recognise the diverse needs of ageing Australians.
-Strategies to raise this funding at federal and state levels without charging residents and their families more money – there are many possibilities, but setting aside a small percentage of superannuation could be one solution.
-Better provision of distinct care options for younger people living with high need disability, which may include: specialist accreditation as combined age and disability facilities, specially equipped small group homes, provision of disability support workers to provide disability care within facilities, and better training for all heath care workers around disability specific care.
Develop and implement workforce strategies to improve conditions, attract more workers and increase specialist staff within the aged care sector.
-Urgent action on developing strategies to attract quality staff to the industry, including specialist doctors and nurses – and keep them.
-Creation of more attractive opportunities for Clinical Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and internships for Medical Officers within the aged care sector.
-Fair pay rises for staff that brings remuneration in line with other health care industries.
-Stop the rapid casualisation of aged care jobs – encourage the creation of more permanent positions and set minimum shift times to four hours (up from two).
-Creation of more workplace based traineeships, for care workers in particular.
Work with AHPRA and appropriate unions to introduce registration as health care workers for all personal care/support workers/assistants in nursing/health services assistants.
-Implementation of the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers, to be overseen by AHPRA.
-Revamping of care workers career structure to allow for specialised training and better career advancement for all aged care workers, including better pathways into future study.
-Mandatory national employment screening, renewed annually as part of registration.
-Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements specific to area of employment
Establish nationally consistent training standards and continuing professional development requirements.
-Establish nationally consistent minimum standards for training and annual accreditation specific to area of employment. This can be linked in with annual CPD requirements as a condition of registration for care workers and nurses.
-Minimum qualification requirements and length of approved training courses for care workers/AIN’s/support workers.
-Mandate that aged care related units become a core requirement of the nursing and medical curriculum and not elective. Ensure units cover the appropriate skills needed for caring for consumers, and are not just focused on ACFI – related assessments and associated paperwork.
-Include mandatory dementia awareness training for all health care workers including allied health workers across all disciplines.
-Mandated skill updates for all health care workers within aged care such as challenging behaviour training, oral hygiene and continence education.
Mandated minimum staff to resident ratios nationwide, for nursing and care staff.
-Minimum Registered Nurse on site 24/7 – not on call, on site.
-Lower nurse to resident ratio for medication administration
-Lower carer to resident ratios for personal care duties
-Access to more subsidised training for existing nursing staff that would allow for the creation of specialist continence nurses, and wound care nurses to be allocated to those areas of need within organisations.
-Funding for high care residents to have access to a one to one care worker if required for behavioural or other special care needs.
-Minimum skill mixes for differing care levels.
-Requirement for service providers to publish their staffing ratios.
Implement mandatory reporting of elder abuse, or reasonable suspicion of abuse, for all healthcare professionals.
-There must be a dedicated, transparent reporting system for families and other concerned persons who suspect abuse is occurring.
– Accreditation agency, complaints teams, advocacy services, abuse hotline & the department to be mandated to communicate with one another to ensure investigation and any actions required are swiftly implemented.
-There must be greater protection for whistleblowers.
-Mandatory CCTV in communal areas. Optional CCTV with footage controlled by families within individual rooms.
-Provision of access to an industry wide online system for reporting incidents in real time such as pressure injuries and falls, and application of open disclosure principles in relation to this data. Service providers reporting (eg:) a high incidence of falls could then be provided with free resources to assist their staff in falls prevention awareness strategies.
Rework the National Accreditation standards and process for annual auditing, and potential changes to the Aged Care Act if required.
-Shortening the length of accreditation, or ensuring spot audits are done more regularly.
-Stronger sanctions and restriction of right to operate or take any new residents, including for respite if standards are not being met.
-Unannounced, unscheduled visits by inspectors.
-Families and residents to be informed when a facility fails to meet accreditation standards.
-“Mystery shopper” program where respite services are accessed by assessors and resultant reports published.
-Requirements for facilities to engage specialists, or use the aforementioned specialist resource database to plan menus, lifestyle programs and care planning assessments with best practice at the forefront of care provision at all times.
Strengthening of ageing in place related strategies, and increased funding for palliative services.
-Ensuring service providers taking residents who are low care mixed with high care are providing distinct services for the two groups, and not applying high care restrictions on all residents eg: locked facilities.
-Minimum mandated interval for individual reassessment and new care plan development, and a streamlined system to enable service providers to access increased funding quickly when needs increase.
-Ensure advanced care directives are followed and palliative services involved earlier to assist with greater dignity in death.
-More funding for state based palliative service consultants that work specifically within the aged care sector to provide support for people wishing to remain in care facilities at end of life.
-Palliative care training for medical officers, nursing staff and care staff to ensure individual needs are met at end of life.
-Database for the online registration of advanced care directives, potentially linked to online e-health records.