Aged care sector elevates care standards to improve residents’ well-being

Oct 03, 2023
Minimum care time standards were recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which identified that staffing levels are vital to high-quality aged care. Source: Getty Images.

The aged care sector is redefining the quality of care provided to elderly residents in aged care homes after measures came into effect to ensure a sector-wide average of 200 care minutes per resident per day, with a significant 40 minutes allocated to registered nurse care.

The change means that older Australians in aged care homes now have better access to personal and clinical care provided by trained professionals, including registered nurses, enrolled nurses, personal care workers, and nursing assistants.

Minimum care time standards were recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which identified that staffing levels are vital to high-quality aged care.

From 1 October 2024, mandatory care minutes will increase to an average of 215 minutes of care, including 44 minutes from a registered nurse.

Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells labelled the new measures “yet another important milestone in the Albanese Government’s promise to improve the quality of care in aged care homes.”

“We promised more carers with more time to care and that’s exactly what we are delivering – an additional 1.8 million care minutes every day across the sector, and an additional 5,800 direct care staff since Labor came into Government,” Wells said.

“The introduction of mandatory care minutes targets today means that every older person in an aged care home will receive the dedicated care time they need – whether that be for essential medical treatment or help with daily activities.

“We’re ensuring that all aged care residents can have their clinical and personal needs met. Each home’s care minutes targets are based on the needs of their residents, which means homes with higher-need residents will need to deliver more care minutes.

“We are already seeing a concerted effort from the sector to increase care minutes, and there has been great progress to lift care minutes ahead of the mandatory targets commencing.

“My department and I will continue to work closely with aged care homes, particularly those affected by workforce shortages, to support them to meet their care minutes targets.”

The new care standards come after the introduction of 24/7 registered nursing on July 1, 2023, with a registered nurse now on-site and available 98.08 per cent of the time in the aged care sector.

In addition, the Albanese Government is making sure that older Australians in aged care enjoy delicious and nutritious meals, all thanks to a free training program designed for cooks and chefs working in aged care facilities.

By investing $5 million in the Maggie Beer Foundation, the government is supporting the free Improving Food in Aged Care through an education and training program.

The opportunity is open for all aged care providers, encouraging everyone to work together to improve the food and nutrition standards across the entire sector.

Program opportunities include:

  • Online learning modules
  • Food Satisfaction Questionnaire
  • State and Territory Training Hubs
  • Trainer Mentor Program
  • Professional Community.

Beer said she was “thrilled” to join forces with the government to improve the dining experience for those in aged care.

“Food is nutrition not just for the body, but also for the soul. It’s what fires our appetite for life,” she said.

“The Maggie Beer Foundation is thrilled to partner with the Department of Health and Aged Care to provide opportunities for every chef and cook working in residential aged care to improve food, nutrition, and dining experiences for older people.”

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