Aged Care

ANMF: Lifestyle staff cuts threaten elderly wellbeing

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The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is sounding the alarm on a worrying trend in aged care.

According to ANMF, some aged care homes are trying to meet current care requirements by changing the roles of their lifestyle staff. This move, the ANMF warns, could hurt the quality of life for older residents.

The government now requires nursing homes to provide 200 minutes of care per resident each day. To meet this target, some facilities are reclassifying their lifestyle staff as personal care assistants or cutting these positions entirely.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler argues this approach misses the point of aged care reform. “Lifestyle services are an essential component of quality aged care, offering numerous benefits that contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and social well-being of residents,” she says.

“The short-sighted move by some aged care providers to shift them to PCAs to fulfil mandated care minutes targets goes against the intention of the funding provided and ignores the holistic care vulnerable residents need and deserve.”

ANMF supports the government’s efforts to improve aged care but insists that providers must use new funding as intended. They’re calling on the aged care regulator to ensure homes meet care requirements without compromising essential services.

“To address this issue, the regulator (the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission), must keep aged care providers accountable by ensuring they meet mandated care minutes as intended, instead of taking away essential elements of care to tick other boxes,” Butler says.

The ANMF is urging Aged Care Minister Anika Wells to continue to progress the implementation of critical aged care reforms that will lead to better standards and health outcomes.

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