Jul 22, 2020

Aged care CEO believes that government bonus has divided aged care workforce

 

Australian aged care staff rejoiced when the Aged Care Retention Bonus Grant was first announced in late March, but as details began to emerge, happiness turned to anguish for those who were deemed ineligible to receive payment.

Despite carrying the same level of risk as the ‘direct care’ staff who currently receive a retention bonus payment – laundry staff, cleaners, and kitchen staff working in residential aged care have been forced to go without any financial assistance.

Feelings of inequity regarding these payments have festered over the last few months and one aged care CEO believes that this dynamic has resulted in a split between members of the aged care workforce.

Peninsula Villages, CEO, Shane Neaves recently penned an open letter to the Australian government which outlined the need to reward all staff for the valuable role that they play in providing care to elderly residents.

“The additional funding promised by the Government was to support and help the sector to stay strong, including a Retention Bonus Grant for aged care workers. But the Commonwealth will only offer financial support to ‘direct care’ workers. Shame on you Government,” said Mr Neaves.

“Any management, human resources, or workplace culture specialist will reveal that the promotion of equality, teamwork, and an engaged workforce will lead to increased productivity, retention, and success.

“So, what does the Government Retention Bonus for Aged Care workers do? Splits the most important factor in providing holistic care – it divides the workforce into those rewarded and those not. It does this at a time when everyone needs to work as a team and be acknowledged for the important role they play in providing holistic care.

“I openly invite the Government to address the ‘non-direct care’ workers who have risked their own personal safety to work in the aged care sector and provide important interaction with our residents as to why they aren’t being rewarded. Only recognising one side of the sector is poor form.”

Mr Neaves then went on to acknowledge the vital role that individual, environmental/cleaning services, grounds/garden services, catering services, maintenance services, and administration staff play in providing care to residents of Peninsula Villages aged care.

“I invite you to explain to these key staff members why their role in a resident’s life is not seen to be direct and therefore rewarded,” continued Shane.

“The aged care sector in Australia has worked hard and done an incredible job to protect our older Australians, despite all the extra hard work and the administrative burden that has been added due to the COVID-19 pandemic – to an already over-burdened and underfunded sector.

“Despite the Government finding out there was a $60 billion-dollar error (presumably resulting in extra money to be used) it still refuses to act fairly to all Aged Care workers.

“Shame on you all. Once again highlighting the Government’s lack of understanding of the ways in which the sector provides a truly healthy and holistic environment for our older Australians.”

 

Photo credit – iStock – MarianVejcik

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  1. And again , every artical ever written good or bad never ever mentions the lifestyle teams they are part of agedcare to.

    1. Hi Marra, you may need to check with your employer lifestyle workers are direct/allied health and are eligible for the payment. I was told by my employer a few weeks ago I will be receiving the bonus.

    2. Hi Marra, you may need to check with your employer lifestyle workers are direct/allied health and are eligible for the payment. I was told by my employer a few weeks ago I will be receiving the bonus.
      All staff should receive the payment

    3. Marra I am with you on that. In these times where emotional needs are heightened, the lifestyle teams are always left out but the first to be called upon in supporting not only the resident but families and the wonderful co-workers as well.

  2. Government Bonus Has Divided Aged Care Workforce
    Hi
    I Want to share (my employers) a private Aged Care Provider in Melbourne went above and beyond in ensuring that all their staff (164 beds) at both their facilities were recognised!
    Government may think they helped with providing them with additional funds but who then has to navigate paperwork side for tax time when questioned about these $$$
    Most aged care providers do Amazing work thank you

  3. I agree lifestyle teams along with other work colleagues deserve the respect and acknowledgement of management and Government. Do the right thing.

  4. As an aged care RN (12 yrs), I agree in principle with what Mr Neaves is saying. BUT, there is no reason most organisations top earners could donate a portion of their exceptionally good salaries to make up the ‘shortfall’.

    Why continually expect to government to ‘fork out’, when they are having to borrow the $ to keep Australia afloat in these difficult times?

    What has happened to a ‘fair go’; ‘mateship’… and just being DECENT to all the workers? We have all put in extra time/shifts to keep everything running as smoothly as possibly for the residents, so, it’s time those bosses put their hands in those capacious pockets, and did something off their own bat.

  5. As an aged care RN (12 yrs), I agree in principle with what Mr Neaves is saying. BUT, there is no reason most organisations top earners could donate a portion of their exceptionally good salaries to make up the ‘shortfall’.

    Why continually expect to government to ‘fork out’, when they are having to borrow the $ to keep Australia afloat in these difficult times?

    What has happened to a ‘fair go’; ‘mateship’… and just being DECENT to all the workers? We have all put in extra time/shifts to keep everything running as smoothly as possibly for the residents, so, it’s time those bosses put their hands in those capacious pockets, and did something off their own bat.

  6. Arguing over crumbs off the dining table is pointless. If you read the evidence which is publicly available you will see that some Aged Care providers in the most affluent areas of Melbourne have the worst outbreaks of COVID-19. Extra funding is supposed to improve care to residents. The question that needs to be asked is does the current model of funding provide better care or is it just a continuation of the corporate horror show ? Why are about half the fatalities occurring in Aged Care ? If “Everybody Knows” (to quote Leonard Cohen) then maybe we need to change the model ? No-one needs to die. It is only that some people are seen as having more value than others.

    1. They gagged everyone and put a stop to transparency as to where the money the government gave all aged care places were being utilized. It certainly wasn’t spent on staff no’s and that was the other huge issue, not enough staff in all the sections of aged care.

  7. This payment shouldn’t have been suggested- causing division due to the eligibility not only in resi care but community care.
    How about thinking – we are lucky to still have paying work when so many have lost their jobs

  8. I have to done up with full PPE to visit an cimfort lonely distressed resident. Some of lifeztyle team constantly required to interpret as well to save company money as family no longer around. We also toilet residents, feed them, most are PCW as well, just so annoyed after decades lifestyle are not acknowledged. Would any of like to live in Aged Care with no social, spiritual, exercise program, no outings, no emotional support, no concerts, no gardening, no art, yoga or Tai chi, no Happy Hours, no crosswords quizzes , no shopping we do for them all, etc. now tell us the lifestyle
    team dont do anytbing,. It has caused great division in our home. The cleanersshould have been the first to receive. Without them the place shuts down.

  9. I would have thought that one of the most important and relevant persons on staff are the cleaner and kitchen staff. If your cleaner is not performing, and taking on extra repetitive duties with no extra time allotted to them or having any extra personal preforming these duties,and the kitchen staff not even more consious of extra sanitising again with not extra time or personal. And then there is the lifestyle and wellbeing staff or DT’s doing over and above with absolutly no extra time or assistance to do it in. Lots of double standards in Aged Care. It does not revolve around the manager and nurses

  10. AINs deserve a damb pay rise for what they do every day 24/7. Lifestyle staff are not essential in the case of a pandemic.They seem to put DTs and the like off when there is a pandemic and guess what you over paid DTs? We see what some of you do and some of you do bloddy nothing substantial with our Dementia residents. Some of you sit there with a coulouringnin book or bits and pieces on the table while the AINs are picking residents off the floor and sweating it out when the air conditioner isn’t working! So many of you are not as essential as you would like to think you are in a pandemic. Do you shower residents? Do you clean residents at close level and contact when they are incontinent? Do you clean faeces off the floor when their pads are taken off by the resident or fall off when AINs are so short staffed and over worked and cannot attend the resident in time? Do you and other employed staff clean vomit and blood when someone hemorrhages? Do you clean the dead and prepare the bodies for their loved ones? Do you get coughed in the face when a resident is unwell while you attend their pad changes? Do you help AINs when they are short staffed and get your hands dirty? Do any of you that work in aged care actually assist us in times of need when we do the washing of dishes touching cutlery plates etc so the companies we work for can save money on hiring more kitchen staff? We feed the residents as that is our job not the kitchen’s job! We clean feacal matter and urine from floors including bathroom floors, toilets even public toilets! We step in to give out medication for a measly just cents an hour whether or not we have done it in a set time frame all the while being distracted by residents that need our help at the same time. We are utilized to do laundry and fold laundry when laundry staff are short. We are also Fire And Safety for the whole facility unless the maintenance man wants to find the time to do that as well as look after a whole facility! We are Health and Safety unless admin want to take it up! We order pads of all types and then unbox the hundred or so boxes that come our way and then we have to distribute each and every pad every night to the every resident. We give out all towels and clothes to each and every resident to their room! We have to clean a resident’s room and cupboards every day and always once a month! Yep there seems to be alot of AINs to pick up the slack for all you whiners that didn’t get the government’s little retainer package. We do so much much more than what I have stated. Dealing with resident’s relatives, working short staffed, and having to do YOUR work and our own complex work as well. Then find the time to all all our paper /computer work for behaviours, continue, bowels, ACFI, Sleep chart, food and fluid charts Progress notes! That is why we AINs deserce a little bit of recognition. But the shame is it is not coming from our employer! 50cent payrise an hour every 3 yrs as well. I am at $23.46 after 8 yrs of service! Haven’t even seen the 2018 Enterprise agreement yet!

  11. I work as a care coordinator in a hostel and Dementia unit,out on the floor everyday, yet have been told I do not qualify, the care coordinator that does the exact same role in the high care section as been told she does, because she is an EN even though she does not practice because she has kept her registration up she qualifies, certainly makes you feel less appreciated, our facility is a stand alone practice and alas is not in a position where they can subsidize the workers that do not qualify.

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