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24/7 registered nurse cover and care minutes

From 1 July 2023, residential aged care homes across Australia will be required to have a registered nurse on-site and on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless granted a 12-month exemption. 

From 1 October 2023 residential aged care homes will be required to deliver at least 200 care minutes per resident per day, including 40 minutes with a registered nurse. Care minutes are the direct care time delivered to residents by registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers (including nursing assistants).

24/7 registered nursing and care minutes were key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Commission will be taking a fair and sensible approach to the regulation of the new responsibilities for every residential aged care service to have at least one registered nurse (RN) on-site and on duty 24/7 (from 1 July 2023) and to meet care minutes targets (from 1 October 2023). We understand the challenges being experienced by many providers, and especially those located outside urban population centres, in attracting and retaining a suitably qualified workforce.

On 14 April 2023, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, Janet Anderson PSM, wrote to all approved providers of residential aged care on the Commission’s regulatory approach to the new 24/7 registered nurse cover and care minutes. 

You can read the letter here.

Fact sheets are available for approved providers regarding the new workforce-related responsibilities and alternative care arrangements.

Regulatory Bulletin 

The Commission has recently updated the Regulatory Bulletin on the workforce-related responsibilities of approved providers, including the additional responsibilities for 24/7 registered nurse coverage and care minutes, that were introduced from 1 July and 1 October 2023 respectively, for approved providers of residential aged care. The bulletin explains how the Commission will regulate these responsibilities.

Webinar: 18 April 2023

To assist approved providers in understanding these changes, the Commission hosted a webinar on Tuesday 18 April on the regulation of workforce-related responsibilities including 24/7 on-site registered nurse and care minutes in residential aged care services.

Hosted by Janet Anderson PSM, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, panellists included:

  • Mark Richardson, Assistant Secretary, Residential Care Funding Reform, Department of Health and Aged Care
  • Peter Edwards, Executive Director Financial and Prudential Regulation, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
  • Dr Melanie Wroth, Chief Clinical Advisor, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

Q&A document is available addressing questions that could not be addressed during the webinar due to time constraints.

You can watch the recording here and review the slides used during the webinar here.

Further information

The Department of Health and Aged Care has resources available to guide and inform providers, and people accessing aged care, on the 24/7 Registered Nurse and Care Minutes regulations that came into effect on 1 July 2023, and 1 October 2023 respectively.

The Department of Health and Aged Care has changed the care minutes allocations for each AN-ACC class from 1 October 2023. Learn how here.

Other helpful resources include: 

The Department of Health and Aged Care offers a 24/7 RN supplement to approved providers (available from 1 July 2023) to assist in employing extra RNs to be on-site and on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at residential facilities.

The Department of Health and Aged Care has also released an exposure draft and explanatory statement for the subordinate legislation for reporting about and applying for exemptions from the 24/7 registered nurses (RNs) responsibility in residential aged care.

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 RN be on-site per residential facility at all times. See recommendation 86 of the final report.

More information is available on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.


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