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1 September 2021

Senator Patrick will this week introduce a private members Bill to require aged care facilities to have at least one registered nurse present at all times. 

The Aged Care Amendment (Registered Nurses Ensuring Quality Care) Bill 2021 will be introduced in the Senate on 1 September 2021.

“Currently in Australia, there is no nationwide requirement for nursing homes to have a registered nurse on duty at all times,” Senator Rex Patrick said.

“I’m concerned aged care residents are not getting the care they need, and the care is varied depending on where they are located across Australia. The inconsistent approach leads to variations in the level of care and quality provided to residents. Proper care for our elderly is critical and it requires aged care homes to have registered nurses on site at all times."

"We must also recognise that a lack of properly qualified staff negatively impacts the staff as well."

While the Senator acknowledged that the Royal Commission recommended nursing homes to have a registered nurse in every aged care facility by 1 July 2024, he said; “Nursing home residents, their families, the aged care workforce, and the wider Australian community cannot wait any longer. Unfortunately, due to chronic understaffing and skills shortages some residents just aren’t receiving the care they deserve, and July 2024 is just too far away.”

“My Bill, requiring aged care facilities to have a registered nurse present at all times, will raise the level of care to residents, will attract and retain new graduate nurses and increase the skilled workforce to provide the required levels of supervision and support."

“Importantly, having a registered nurse present in an approved aged care facility will improve the quality of end of life care; improve communication between the resident, family and other health care professionals; and promote preventative healthcare and address wellbeing risks that contribute to restorative care.”

"I’d like to thank the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation for bringing this serious issue to my attention and for their assistance with drafting the Bill.