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Australian Ageing Agenda OLD : Australian Ageing Agenda
NURSING GROUPS and industry leaders have welcomed the Senate's decision to allow nurse practitioners to provide some forms of treatment under Medicare and to prescribe through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The historic decision could lead to a wide range of benefits for residential aged care where access to medical care has been a major problem for years. Nurse practitioners have been operating under state and territory laws for up to a decade but were unable to access federal funding until the Health Legislation Amendment Bill was passed in mid-March. In a statement following the Senate's decision, Health Minister Nicola Roxon said aged care facilities were a "most appropriate [setting]" for nurse practitioners. The federal secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF), Ged Kearney, said the decision would lead to better career opportunities for nurses and better care for older people in aged care services. "We know that GPs are very overworked and they are hard pressed to get out to nursing homes and deliver care there," she said. "A lot of older people end up on trolleys, going off to hospital because they can't access medical care in aged care. "If we can get nurse practitioners in nursing homes dealing with the ailments that they can deal with, that will mean that a lot of residents will be able to avoid going to the emergency department." Ms Kearney said the ANF is working with the government to establish the requirements for nurse practitioners to demonstrate that they work collaboratively with other health practitioners. The CEO of Aged and Community Care Victoria (ACCV), Gerard Mansour, added his support to the Senate's decision, saying there was a logical specialty for nurse practitioners in aged care. "We are exactly the type of sector that the nurse practitioner role is suited to," he said. "We would be delighted to be part of the early stages of this development and to see significant investment in nurse practitioners in aged care." Mr Mansour said aged care residents would also benefit from the Rudd Government's $632 million initiative to increase the number of GPs. "We know there are already stories about people's entry to aged care being delayed because they can't get access to GPs and there are many challenges in getting GPs to visit aged care facilities," he said. "There is no question in my mind that residential aged care will be one of the real winners out of this initiative." Under the government's proposal, close to $500 million will be used to develop extra clinical training places. Mr Mansour said aged care homes have an important role to play in providing practical experience for medical students. "There is a great opportunity for universities and hospitals that are training future GPs to get them to spend much more time in aged care facilities," he said. "Our feedback from GPs who are regularly involved in aged care is that some medical students get very little opportunity to visit aged care facilities when they are training. This is an opportunity to change that." n Please consider... AIM Outsourcing Services Specialists in Residential Aged Care Outsourced Financial Management Services: Full or partly outsourced services Tailored short, medium or long term arrangements Proactive services keeping you informed Direct access to your data and comprehensive report suites Fully trained industry experienced staff to assist you Why outsource? AIM can help you Maximise revenue & funding Minimise overheads Overhaul your financial reporting Take away the worry of finding industry experienced staff Just a few reasons why our clients turn to us for assistance Call Alan Bateman today for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL consultation 1300 651 321 Want to improve your bottom line performance? PO Box 132 Nunawading Vic 3131 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aimsoftware.com.au Outsourced Financial Management Services a division of AIM Software TARGETINGY OUR MANAGEMENT N EEDS Industry news Double boost for aged care A recent amendment could increase the role of nurse practitioners in aged care. 8|MAY--JUNE2010|AAA upfront