Written answers

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Department of Health

Health Services Staff

Photo of Neasa HouriganNeasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party)
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161. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to introduce minimum mandatory staffing levels for nursing homecare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50169/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The Safe Staffing Framework is an evidence-based methodology to determine the required nursing workforce based on patient acuity and dependency. The Framework was launched by Minister Harris, on 16 April 2018, on publication of the Final Report and Recommendations of the Taskforce on Staffing and Skill Mix for Nursing, on a Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill Mix in General and Specialist Medical and Surgical Care Settings in Adult Hospitals ().To date there have been three phases of the Safe Staffing Framework Development, Phase 3 being the Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing in Community settings, including (a) Long-Term residential care settings for older persons, (b) Community care settings, and (c) Step-down and Rehabilitation settings.

As the Deputy may be aware, my Department is currently conducting the first part of Phase 3 of the Safe Nurse and Skill Mix Framework (SSF).

Phase 3 (a) will develop an evidence-based approach to determining the staffing and skill mix required in a long-term residential care setting. Staffing levels determined by the SSF are directed and implemented based on evidence from patient / resident outcomes as the key indicator of the staffing adjustment needed. This flexibility has proven successful in the previous two phases of the SSF.

The National Taskforce for Phase 3 of the SSF commenced in February 2021 and has undertaken a review of the available international evidence and selected a model for further testing. Following an open call, nine pilot sites have been chosen from across the country to test the model identified. Baseline data collection will commence in Q3 2021, with staffing adjustments expected to be made in the pilot sites in Q1 2022. Based on the evidence Phase 3 (a) will, in line with other phases, be developed into a national policy for broader implementation. This flexible , evidence based approach to nurse staffing and skill mix will enable informed staffing levels based on patient / resident need across the variety of nursing home / residential care settings in Ireland.


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