The College of Emergency Nursing Australasia (CENA), the peak professional association representing emergency nurses, unequivocally supports the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation’s campaign for Ratios for Aged Care. Residential aged care services provide care to one of our most vulnerable populations and the current nurse-to-resident ratios are woefully inadequate.
There is clear evidence that better levels of nurse staffing result in better patient outcomes and decreased risk of death and harm. The lack of nurse staffing in aged care not only places residents at risk of suboptimal care it also results in moving residents to emergency departments as aged care staffing does not enable nurses assess and manage residents who suffer clinical deterioration or an event such as a fall at their facility.
CENA Executive Director, Dr Julia Morphet highlights that “transferring older persons to emergency departments places them at unnecessary risk of harm”. “Movement to an unfamiliar environment is distressing for many older persons and their families and can cause delirium which is associated with increased risk of death.” “Being in an emergency department places older persons at higher risk of falls, pressure injuries, and unnecessary test and invasive procedures.”
CENA endorses that older persons deserve the best possible care which is not possible in the 2.86 hours of nursing care per day currently provided to residents. Nurse staffing in aged care warrants urgent attention and legislated nurse-to-resident ratios: make them law now.
Dr Julia Morphet, Executive Director
College of Emergency Nursing Australasia