May 08, 2023

Roster upheaval leads to cuts as aged care provider makes changes

Roster upheaval leads to cuts as aged care provider makes changes

A well-known aged care provider has allegedly cut a number of lifestyle and non-care positions within its Victorian homes as Government reforms continue to influence operations within the sector.

HelloCare received insight that meetings have been held with select staff at Calvary aged care homes regarding rosters and restructuring of roles. Workers involved in lifestyle support, cleaning, catering/hospitality and laundry were impacted the most.

It’s unclear if jobs have been cut entirely, or if hours have just been reduced. 

Other staff, including personal care workers, have been advised that there are no longer ‘short shifts’, and their hours have increased in light of those changes.

HelloCare approached Calvary, and a spokesperson for the organisation provided the following statement:

The aged care sector is undergoing significant reform that holds all providers to a standard that gives residents and their families and carers, [the] confidence they will receive high quality and safe care.

Among the reforms being introduced is mandatory requirements regarding care and registered nursing minutes within residential aged care homes. Calvary welcomes this reform and is putting plans in place to meet these requirements.

As there will be an even greater emphasis on person-centred and resident-led care experiences, these adjustments include changes to rosters, position descriptions and ways of working. We will also invest in recruiting additional nursing and care staff to enable the changes.

Calvary is currently working through a consultation period with affected staff, providing them with the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback regarding the proposed changes. 

Government reforms have an impact

  • From October 2023, providers must deliver a daily average of 200 care minutes per resident, increasing to 215 minutes from October 2024 
  • Registered Nurses must provide 40 minutes of care per day, increasing to 44 minutes next year
  • Care minutes only include the direct care provided by RNs, Enrolled Nurses, personal care workers and Assistants in Nursing
  • Activities performed by Allied Health, lifestyle, recreational, catering and cleaning staff cannot be included in the quotas

Although much of the focus has been on the Government’s incoming 24/7 Registered Nurse mandates – which have already led to the closure of several facilities – the impact of the mandatory care minute quotas appears to be incoming.

Personal care workers will have their hours included as part of care minute quotas and they appear most likely to pick up the slack if non-direct care staff have reduced hours. 

With all direct care staff set to receive a 15% pay rise that will be fully funded by the Government, providers will not have to take a financial hit when offering more hours to personal care workers either.

The spokesperson for Calvary told HelloCare that their new staffing model and roster changes will be introduced between July and September, in time for mandatory care minute reporting.

Another provider shows support for staff

Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT (SCC) has reached out to the affected lifestyle workers with a career lifeline.

Jacqueline Quirke, Engagement and Purposeful Living Manager at SCC (NSW & ACT) posted in a Facebook Group for lifestyle coordinators that impacted staff were invited to apply for jobs at the organisation.

Ms Quirke said the organisation is also committed to its team members, including Diversional Therapists, Spiritual Well-being Coordinators and Lifestyle and Engagement Officers, despite the uncertainty surrounding new reforms.

“As the Aged Care landscape continues to change with new reforms, some providers are reshaping their model of care to align,” Ms Quirke said. “Southern Cross Care (NSW & ACT) understands the importance of providing quality services and support to residents, and we remain committed to our leading Engagement model.”

“Our engagement model is a key part of our service delivery, and it aims to achieve positive and holistic resident-led outcomes. We recognise the fundamental right of our residents to engage in leisure-based programs, and we are dedicated to supporting this right by providing qualified and dedicated staff.”

Ms Quirke also provided reassurance to staff and residents that SCC (NSW & ACT) will continue with existing programs and operations and experienced staff members are always welcome to join the team.

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