Level of Care Services Must Be Improved, says Union of Practical Nurses SuPer
SuPer insists that there are enough trained nursing staff in workplaces, that their salary is in line with the demanding nature of the work and that practical nurses can fully utilise their competence in their work.
The recent scandals at privately-run old-age care facilities have brought into sharp focus the debate on how to maintain a good level of elderly care with increasingly few taxpayers in Finland. Municipalities are responsible for monitoring and ensuring that agreed standards are upheld even when the services are produced by a private healthcare company.
The Minister responsible for this sector, together with representatives from key organisations and companies, has produced a 25-point plan for improving elderly care. SuPer supports this plan but also requires that the mimimum ratio of nurses per elderly person in care is written into law. At present, there is merely a recommended minimum ratio of 0.5. A recommendation is not sufficient to ensure compliance.
In the near future Finland will need a growing number of new care workers. SuPer points out that there are thousands of practical nurses who have left their jobs as a result of poor working conditions. Many of them are willing to return if they can have full working-hours and permanent contracts. Also, care facilities need to hire kitchen and cleaning staff, and allow trained nursing staff to concentrate on their specific tasks.
Workplaces should have enough resources not only to enable good care but also to instruct student nurses when they are learning at work.
The Ministry of Education and Culture has already confirmed that aptitude tests for vocational studies will be re-established. This has been SuPer’s long-term goal in order to improve the safety of patients and nurses alike.
Reform of the Act on Care Services for Older Persons
The ministerial working group for health and wellbeing have decided to start its work on the reform of the Act on Care Services for Older Persons during this government term.
The ministerial group feels that what is now called for is broad-based preparatory work by public servants from multiple administrative sectors, and consultation with elderly people themselves and with their families to ensure that all the different aspects of services, health and wellbeing, such as competence, sufficient numbers of personnel, housing solutions, management, procurement and supervision, are adequately taken into consideration.
The work will cover all care services provided for the elderly. A working group consisting of public servants will be appointed to prepare proposals for legislative amendments, including an impact assessment, by the end of 2019.
The working group will review and discuss several thematic areas, such as:
Prevention: preventive services designed to maintain the functional ability of the elderly.
Number of personnel, competence, resource allocation, and the need for skilled personnel when home care and informal care are also included in the needs assessment.
Mechanisms needed to ensure the quality of care, such as care quality indicators and regulation concerning operational supervision.
Service needs assessment, including a nationally comparable indicator for the assessment and supervision of care and service needs.
Identifying and removing overlaps between the Act on Care Services for Older Persons and the Social Welfare Act.
More information: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health