Aged care 24/7 registered nurse requirement

From 1 July 2023, approved residential aged care services must have a registered nurse (RN) onsite and on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

About the 24/7 RN requirement

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identified that staffing levels are critical to the quality of residential care, and recommended at least one registered nurse (RN) be onsite per residential aged care service at all times. See recommendation 86 of the final report for more information.

From 1 July 2023 approved services must:

  • have a RN onsite and on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • report monthly on all periods of 30 minutes or more where an RN is not onsite and on duty.

Why it is important

The 24/7 RN requirement reduces the risk of resident harm by ensuring qualified and experienced care staff are always available to identify and address potential risks.

The requirement also gives residents better access to care in services, and:

  • allows RNs to manage some issues as first responders
  • improves resident safety
  • prevents unnecessary trips to hospital emergency rooms.

For detailed information, see the Care Minutes and 24/7 Nursing Requirements Guide.

Exemptions

Residential aged care services with 30 or less approved beds in Modified Monash Model (MMM) 5–7 locations are eligible for a one-off 12-month exemption from the 24/7 RN requirement. Services must agree to the exemption and sign a statement that they have suitable care arrangements in place for when they do not have an RN onsite. Services can choose to opt out of the exemption.

Funding supplement

Residential aged care services with 60 residents or less (based on occupied beds) are eligible for a funding supplement to employ extra RNs to deliver 24/7 RN care.

Services with more than 60 residents do not receive the supplement, because their existing AN-ACC funding is sufficient to provide for 24/7 RN care.

For more information on the supplement, see 24/7 registered nurse supplement for residential aged care.

Future work on the 24/7 RN requirement

The government is undertaking work to further develop and refine the 24/7 RN requirement. This includes:

  • exploring the feasibility of developing a model of aged care RN workforce shortages by region, that could be used to inform future exemption arrangements
  • developing clinically appropriate alternative models of care to ensure safe and quality care is delivered when a RN is not available due to workforce shortages
  • including the 24/7 RN requirement in Star Ratings.

We will undertake targeted consultation with a range of stakeholders over the coming year to inform this work.

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