Home | News | 24/7 nurse mandate sees aged care homes close
Three more homes close due to staffing shortages, despite Aged Care Minister promising no home will close. Picture: NCA / Martin Ollman

24/7 nurse mandate sees aged care homes close

Multiple aged-care facilities have been forced close due to workforce shortages in June and July, one month after a nationwide 24/7 nurse mandate was introduced into Australia's nursing homes.

Last week three aged care facilities announced their closure, leaving 70 residents to find new homes. 

A statement released by Carinity Summit Cottages confirmed it will shut its QLD facility in December due to being unable to meet the new staffing requirement.

"A nationwide shortage of aged care staff, combined with Mount Morgan's regional location, has made maintaining the required staffing levels at Summit Cottages increasingly difficult," the statement read.

"This situation has worsened in recent months."

Petrie Gardens Residential Aged Care in Tiaro QLD said the decision to close its doors was made in June due to the new regulations which started in July.

"We support the new compliance rules and understand that they are necessary as they follow on from the recommendations of the Royal Commission," a Petrie Gardens spokesperson said.

"We know it's a loss to the community, but we'll be exploring long-term opportunities for the future use of the building, which will align with community needs."

Residents of St Mary's Villa in Dubbo NSW were told on Tuesday night about their home's closure.

Catholic Healthcare NSW issued a statement assuring its residents the facility would stay open until all relocations were completed.

"The best long-term outcome for the community is to consolidate to our Holy Spirit Dubbo home and close St Mary's, "Catholic Healthcare chief Josh McFarlane told the ABC.

"However, we cannot guarantee that all residents will be able to be accommodated at Holy Spirit."

Aged care operators have raised concerns about the new rules and the lack of exemptions offered to homes unable to meet new staffing requirements.  

Australian College of Nursing chief executive Kylie Ward told The Australian the government's calculations of 5 per cent being exempt was controversial.

"I don't think it's only 5 per cent [of homes] that are non-compliant," Ms Ward said.

"Everybody is doing the best they can, but people need to know."

Last month, Aged Care Minister Anika Wells accepted there would be a shortage of nurses. 

Ms Wells also defended the 24/7 mandate and said no facilities would be forcibly closed.

"Each exemption requires a detailed consideration of complex clinical care arrangements to ensure the standard of care for residents is being met, and this is the law," Ms Wells said.

A government spokesperson told The Australian there was no delay in providing exemptions and all applications were to be finalised "shortly".

Whiddon chief Chris Mamarelis is still waiting to hear the outcome of two homes in Bourke and Wee Waa. The exemption was applied for more than six weeks ago.

"We've applied for some homes to be exempt, but we need considerable reform to happen," Mr Mamarelis told Aged Care Insite last month.

"The government has indicated they'll understand as long as providers try to find nursing staff."

"If that collaborative approach is there, then we think we'll be able to move forward."

Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the top stories in our weekly newsletter Sign up now

One comment

  1. Sounds to me like those homes which are closing are using the new legislation as an excuse.
    “The government has indicated they’ll understand as long as providers try to find nursing staff.” All homes have already been told as long as they are actively seeking staff, they will not be forced to close.
    This sounds like another case of Profit over People.
    The operators should be named and shamed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *