RCN Wales Report Highlights the Role of Nursing in Care Homes

28 Jun 2021

The report offers potential solutions to the central challenges faced by many in this sector, which supports some of our most vulnerable individuals in society.

The care home workforce ensures such individuals are cared for with dignity and compassion. The role of nursing in care homes is key to the delivery of complex, high-quality care, supporting independence, reducing admissions to hospital, and improving health and well-being. A registered nurse’s presence in a care home is essential for the continuous assessment, monitoring and support of residents’ health and well-being.

Care homes have faced unimaginable challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Difficulties in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing, and a lack of communication between stakeholders saw anxiety within the sector rise.
COVID-19 also exacerbated existing challenges in recruitment and retention of the workforce, demonstrating the fragility of the sector.
RCN Wales believes that significant changes must be made by the Welsh Government to provide nurses working in care homes with the recognition, resources and working environment they deserve.
The Welsh Government should work towards raising the profile of registered nursing in Welsh care homes and consider options for a fairer and more sustainable way of financing the care sector.
RCN Wales proposes a partnership with the Chief Nursing Officer to establish interim safe staffing principles for care homes and to ensure care homes have access to infection prevention control nursing advice.
To aid recruitment and retention, the Welsh Government must commit to offering pay and benefits equal to that of the NHS and work with relevant stakeholders to increase student placement opportunities.
In the new report, RCN Wales also stresses the need to carefully consider and mitigate any potential implications of the UK leaving the European Union on the care home workforce.

Helen Whyley, Director of RCN Wales, highlighted the importance of the nursing role in care homes and the need for recognition of the role in future policy development.

She said: “This new report highlights just how important nurses are to the critical support provided within care homes across Wales. The criticality of this role has failed to be recognised or articulated in current policy. This has added to the pressure faced by nurses in care homes and acted to prevent student nurses seeking a career in the field.”

RCN Wales Nursing in Care Homes report

Page last updated - 28/06/2021