On the back of growing community concern regarding the complexities of aged care, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA), doctors and experts have developed a series of pamphlets to support people considering residential care and their families.
The ‘10 Questions to Ask’ series includes brochures covering aged care fees and contracts, staffing, GP services, cultural needs, palliative care and lifestyle.
The new information tools were launched this week to coincide with NSW Seniors Festival.
General Secretary of NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said the project would arm consumers with the right questions to ask when making the journey into aged care.
“Navigating the process of transitioning a loved one into a residential aged care facility anywhere is no simple task and is often compounded by raw emotion,” Mr Holmes said.
“Representing many nurses and assistants in nursing who work in the aged care sector, we are cognisant of the changes occurring at a state and federal level, and unfortunately not all of them have been in the interests of delivering a high standard of quality care.
“Last year, despite contradicting evidence from an inquiry into registered nurses in NSW nursing homes, the State Government stated their intention to remove longstanding protective legislation that requires a registered nurse on site at all times.
“We heard evidence from clinical experts and community advocates about care failures arising from the absence of registered nurses from residential aged care and of the impact on the public health system due to inappropriate hospital admissions.
“Research shows that those entering residential aged care facilities are older, frailer and have more complex care needs, while staffing and skills mix throughout the sector is reducing.
“As the aged care sector moves further down the path of a consumer-led care model, we are hopeful the 10 Questions series will assist consumers to ask the right questions when looking for suitable care.”
He also said those involved in the project hoped it would improve standards of care and clinical outcomes throughout residential aged care facilities.
“Educating consumers is a very important step in improving standards in the aged care sector, which can help prevent unnecessary presentations to our emergency departments that are already being stretched to capacity,” Mr Holmes said.