Are residents of aged care facilities afforded enough nursing care to die well? End of life care has been identified as one of the key health challenges for the aged care sector. Many people in the aged care community have raised concerns since the NSW government removed the requirement for registered nurses to be available 24 hours a day fearing that without an RN present at all times, residents may not receive the quality of care they need or be placed in danger.
Residents nearing their end of life are especially vulnerable because RN’s are uniquely trained to manage symptoms of pain and administer medications. There is a fear that this may lead to unnecessary hospital admissions, effectively cost-shifting the problem into other parts of the public health system. In order to address these concerns the NSW government has announced it will hold a parliamentary inquiry in 2015. The inquiry will assess the impact of this legislative change on residents’ safety and quality of care. It will also examine nurse to patient ratios for residents with high care needs and whether there is adequate regulation and minimum standards applicable to nursing staff of all levels.
Submissions are invited and will close on July 23. For more information on the terms of reference