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RN threat looms

Saturday, 7th March, 2015

Local aged care delegate for the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, Christine Spangler, is petitioning against proposed changes to state legislation which could see registered nurses dropped from the roster at nursing homes. PICTURE: Erica Visser Local aged care delegate for the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, Christine Spangler, is petitioning against proposed changes to state legislation which could see registered nurses dropped from the roster at nursing homes. PICTURE: Erica Visser

By Erica Visser

A nursing home without an available registered nurse (RN) would cause unnecessary distress to residents and put pressure on the Broken Hill Hospital, says a union delegate.

That’s the scenario which could appear by the end of 2015, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association has warned, as recent changes to the federal Aged Care act are likely to hit NSW legislation.

At present, nursing homes must roster at least one registered nurse at all times, however this requirement could be removed.

Christine Spangler, the local aged care delegate for the Association who represents 60 members, will head a petition against the threat next week.

“The ‘cons’ of this is we’ll overload the emergency department (at the hospital) because we’d have to ring them to make a decision.

“It will have a major impact on hospitals. RNs perform duties that nobody else at nursing homes can, such as palliative care and distributing strong painkillers such as morphine.

“We would have to transfer the residents to the hospital unnecessarily, which puts pressure on residents and can be traumatising, particularly for those who have dementia.”

The petition will occur state-wide and Ms Spangler urged local residents to get behind it.

“One day this could be your mother or your father in a nursing home and not getting the quality of care than an RN could provide,” she said.

Volunteers will be available with the petitions in front of Coles supermarket on Wednesday and Thursday from 9am until 12pm.

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