Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Summit calls for aged care staffing review after ‘shocking’ research report

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation and E tū are holding a summit in Wellington today (13 March) calling for a review of staffing standards for residential aged care - and for new and better standards to be made mandatory. The organisations are also launching a report on their joint research which reveals that standard care is missed or delayed in almost every shift, and that aged care staff frequently face distress and exhaustion in their work.

NZNO Industrial Advisor Aged Care David Wait says the public would be shocked at the findings of the research which was conducted in late 2018.

"We think New Zealanders care very much about the health, wellbeing and dignity of our seniors and would agree that the way we care for them reflects back on all of us.

"Our research shows aged care residents’ immediate emotional and physical needs often go unmet because staff are forced to ration the way they care, and if you’re not a priority you miss out.

"Right now aged care under-staffing is hurting everybody, and we’re confident the public will back our call for the government to review existing standards."

David Wait said the current standards were published in 2005, were inadequate even then.

"Things have changed dramatically since 2005. We have more people in aged care, they’re entering facilities later in life with much greater care needs and they’re living longer.

"What’s worse is that our current standards are completely voluntary and recent evidence shows, for example, that more than half of aged care providers deliver less registered nurse time than is recommended for hospital and dementia level patients."

He also said medical conditions associated with care rationing, such as pressure ulcers and injuries from falls, would occur less frequently if we had better staffing, saving New Zealand money while we provide better care.

NZNO delegate and registered nurse Sacha Young says if there were enough staff to meet residents’ needs, people in aged care would have much better physical and emotional wellbeing.

"We don’t have time to do simple things like help residents take short walks, or sit with them for a few minutes when they are distressed.

"Not being able to do this puts a lot of stress on staff who would love to be able to provide better quality care. They often feel guilty or unfulfilled in their work and that’s a very unpleasant situation for everyone."

She said a simple solution, however, would be to review the Staffing Standards and set mandatory minimum staffing numbers.

"It’s time to set staffing levels high enough to ensure our residents are always in safe hands."

All articles and comments on Voxy.co.nz have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.