The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) has called on aged care providers to protect the important role of Enrolled Nurses (ENs) to ensure that older Australians have access to high-quality aged care.
The announcement follows concerns raised by The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) that Enrolled Nurses (EN) are being made redundant and replaced with personal care workers (PCW) in some facilities.
In Tasmania, Southern Cross Care has commenced making ENs redundant in all their facilities, substituting them with extended care workers, citing a response to the Federal Government’s policy of mandating 200 minutes per resident per day from Registered Nurses (RN), ENs and PCWs. This includes 40 minutes with an RN, and the remaining 160 minutes based on a combination of care delivered by RNs, ENs and PCWs.
“The ANMF is extremely concerned that some operators like Southern Cross Care are cynically using the new staffing and funding model to cut ENs from their rosters, despite the Government’s explicit direction that ENs are to be included in mandated minimum care minutes and will be funded,” ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said in a release.
The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council has challenged aged care providers to keep innovating around service delivery models and to connect workforce planning to strategic business planning in order to improve the quality of care in a sustainable way.
The Council recently announced a new Workforce Planning Tool to help providers better manage their workforce.
Chair, Libby Lyons, said ENs are a vital part of the aged care workforce mix when it comes to providing person-centred care.
“A key outcome of the Royal Commission was the mandating of minimum care minutes for people in the aged care system”, said Ms Lyons.
“ENs make a significant contribution to the care of older people. It is an important role in its own right, so it’s incumbent on aged care providers to invest in the retention and attraction of Enrolled Nurses. Anything less is short-sighted and only serves to hold back the critical reforms needed across the sector.”
“Care is about relationships, which is enabled by having a broad set of skills as part of a diverse workforce to meet the social, emotional and physical needs of older people.
“The sector needs to create viable career pathways and meaningful aged care jobs so that, ultimately, we can sustain the sector at the standard that the community expects”, added Ms Lyons.