May 22, 2024

Enrolled Nurses Get Green Light to Fulfil RN Care Minutes in Aged Care

Enrolled Nurses Get Green Light to Fulfil RN Care Minutes in Aged Care
Under the new directive, residential aged care providers will be able to count 10% of their RN care time target using EN care minutes. [Shutterstock].

The Federal Government has announced a significant policy shift that allows a portion of care minutes provided by Enrolled Nurses (ENs) to count towards the Registered Nurse (RN) care time targets in residential aged care.

This change, effective from 1 October 2024, aims to address the current challenges in meeting RN staffing requirements and recognises the vital role ENs play in aged care.

Under the new directive, residential aged care providers will be able to count 10% of their RN care time target using EN care minutes. This adjustment means that out of the required 44 minutes of RN care per resident per day, 4.4 minutes can be provided by an EN.

This change comes as part of an increase in the overall care time requirement, which will rise from an average of 200 minutes to 215 minutes per resident per day.

The Department of Health and Aged Care has stated, “This small adjustment recognises the important role of ENs in aged care and will improve recruitment and retention of these skilled workers. It will also help you to meet your care minutes if you are facing RN workforce shortages.”

This policy adjustment has been welcomed by industry stakeholders, who have long advocated for the recognition of EN contributions in care minute totals.

Rachel Wassink, a Registered Nurse and the Director of Social Care and Health at RMIT University, highlighted the importance of ENs in the healthcare system in an interview with hello leaders.

“ENs are a high-value part of our healthcare system and we need to debunk some of the myths around how much they contribute to the high quality of care they provide working in consultation with a Registered Nurse,” she explained.

The change is seen as a positive step towards addressing workforce shortages and enhancing the sustainability of care minute requirements. Providers will continue to receive funding from 1 October as though the full 44-minute RN care target is met by RNs, allowing flexibility in staffing while ensuring high standards of care.

The recognition of ENs’ contributions is expected to alleviate some of the pressures faced by aged care providers, particularly in regional and rural areas where RN shortages are most acute.

The Government’s decision follows extensive feedback from providers, workers, unions, and other stakeholders, reflecting a responsive approach to industry challenges.

In addition to the care minute adjustments, the Department of Health and Aged Care has also announced a new RN coverage threshold starting 1 July 2024. To receive the 24/7 RN supplement, providers must ensure an average of 21 hours of RN coverage per day, or 87.5% of total hours for the month.

Overall, the policy changes represent a significant step towards more flexible and sustainable staffing solutions in the aged care sector, ensuring that residents continue to receive high-quality care despite ongoing workforce challenges.

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  1. What care of any value could you do in 4.4 minutes? Aged Care is fast becoming the most over regulated sector of all health services! No wonder staffing is the biggest challenge facing the sector.

    1. I agree with Jenny, what care could be given in 4.4 minutes. Do you think a conversation of 4.4 minutes will help!! How is that going to be checked and taken off the 44 minutes of an RN. All the RNs will be asking all the ENs to do their 4.4 minutes and who is checking and recoding!!!! Shame

  2. I find it so offensive thay ENs are over looked in Aged care, for years this industry has been ran by Ains . Now the government has gone from 1 extreme to the other, have these people making decisions ever spent a day in an aged care facility. They now have this industry so bogged down with paperwork no one has time to spend with the residents. Let alone RNs having to spend a rediculous amount of monutes with each resident when does the paperwork get done???What happened to resident to nurse ratios?? What I see now is RNs in aged care with very little experience in the industry yet En’s with years of clinical experience are overlooked because its cheaper to hire Ains. So I pay my rego yearly I have to do 20hrs education to meet my registration requirements and I have a scope of practice that I gave to adhere to and yes I have the ability to loose my registration if I step out of those guidelines. I also have had to upgrade my qualification twice. Medication endorsment was expensive and a lenghthy process. Yet Ains do medications with very little training and yet the expectation of those staff is a huge responsibility. Any wonder nurses are leaving the industry in droves.
    I hold grave fears for the aged care industry we need some common sense bought back to the industry. Otherwise companies are just going to close their doors.

    1. So true you have directed your expertise to RN s who are under pressure and have little experience. Been nursing for 50 years as and EN under recognised and under valued forgetting all the extra knowledge accumulated over a lifetime of experience

  3. Do they realise that is rns are actually out here competing for shifts. There’s no real shortage. Ttis hasn’t changed in two decades. The shortage is the money coming out of the home owners pockets. I’m trying to find aged care jobs because they’re the only ones outside the shops ital that pay more than I wa as paid twenty years ago. Cheapening everything.

  4. The worst decision the aged care commission made was to under value the EN workforce in aged care.Many EN ‘s have provided a high standard of clinical care.often high lighting clinical deterioration and required intervention.Often issues missed by RNs
    Their lack of acknowledgement to the workforce has been appalling and detrimental.
    4.4 minutes is pathetic.
    Recognise our Ens for what they contribute and offer.
    Stop the EN training if they have no career prospects
    Assist those that want to convert to RN .
    Treat them with the respect they deserve

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