(Debate on Bill, 11 May 2017, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
I support the Public Health Amendment (Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes) Bill, which will require the presence of a registered nurse in all nursing homes that house residents needing high care across the state.
I understand that this has been the situation for 40 years however as a result of changes to federal and state laws, only nursing homes operating before the 1st of July 2014 have this requirement.
Nursing homes support people who are frail and have high care needs, often with complex comorbidities of both physical and mental health conditions; some also need palliative care. Elderly people live in these facilities generally because they are no longer able to live independently and their families are unable to provide them with the care they need.
We’ve all heard horror stories from nursing homes where vulnerable elderly people have suffered from neglect of their medical condition and there is a real fear in the community among elderly people of being “put in a nursing home”. Families with loved ones in facilities often worry about their welfare.
We must provide a minimum standard that ensures nursing home residents get the level of care that they need as soon as they need it with sufficient medical oversight of their health situation.
Having a registered nurse at facilities at all times can ensure this level of care and give residents and their families’ peace of mind.
Registered nurses can administer Schedule 8 drugs, vital for pain relief, and they understand the complex medication regimes that many older people have to follow and the potential problems of taking other drugs. Registered nurses know when a person’s situation requires further medical attention and understand the best path for that, including calling an ambulance or a general practitioner. Registered nurses can perform emergency procedures in the face of life and death situations including resuscitation.
People who have given to the community over their life should be given proper support and care when they are frail and elderly and unable to look after themselves independently.
We need to ensure that nursing homes are safe, comfortable and pleasant places for residents.
I strongly support the bill as an important way to ensure proper protection of residents in nursing homes across the state and I congratulate the member for Orange for introducing it in this place.
I commend the bill.
Full Debate HERE.