Home | Industry & Reform | Union alleges some aged cares reclassifying staff to meet care minutes

Union alleges some aged cares reclassifying staff to meet care minutes

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has alleged that some aged care providers may be reclassifying their lifestyle staff as Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) as a way to meet mandated care minutes.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the well-being of aged care residents should not be compromised and that it is the responsibility of care providers to prioritise residents' health as well as meet their lifestyle needs.

“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,” Ms Butler said.

“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.”

Lifestyle aged care staff have duties and responsibilities around the social and cultural needs of residents, the development of activity programs, planning of events and curricula that facilitate the residents interests and hobbies. Personal Care Assistants, on the other hand, are more heavily involved in the physical care of a resident, including hygiene and grooming, mobility and nutrition.

The pressure on residential aged care providers to attain and retain staff has increased since the introduction of mandatory direct care minutes in response to recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Care minutes can only be achieved through direct care from a registered nurse (RN), enrolled nurse (EN) or personal care assistant (PCA). Aged care providers are required to provide 200 minutes of direct care per resident per day, which must include 40 minutes of direct RN care. As of October 1, this will be increased to 215 minutes with 44 minutes of direct RN care.

“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,” Ms Butler added.

“We call upon aged care providers to use additional taxpayer funding provided to the sector as it was intended, on direct, daily care."

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