The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says trained and experienced nurses are “critical” to improving medical care in nursing homes.
The federal president of the AMA, Dr Anthony Bartone, told the royal commission there was an “inappropriately high” level of patient transfer from nursing homes to emergency departments for conditions that could be managed by a GP with good clinical handover to a trained nurse.
He said a 2017 survey showed that AMA members in aged care believed that “having access to suitably trained and experienced nursing and other health professionals is critical to improving access and quality of medical care in residential aged care facilities”.
Dr Bartone said trained nurses were “able to carry out our directions, our functions and we’ve got that communication, coordination and facilitation of that care to be then delivered”.
“(Nurses) then play a very vital role in carrying that out and ensuring it is carried out.”
The availability of a trained nurse allowed for “a continual process of feedback and improvement in terms of the outcome of the care that’s exerted on the patient”.
He said the AMA survey and other “continual and consistent” feedback from GPs suggested a lack of nurses was compromising the handover process.
This not only subjected residents to a lesser standard of care, it also discouraged doctors from visiting facilities “because of that concern, that worry, that issue potentially around being involved in a lesser standard of care”.
This article was originally published in the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association publication, Lamp.