“All this hoo-ha in the media…I am almost embarrassed to admit I work in aged care”, feelings from the frontline

All this hoo-ha in the media about aged care is really starting to bother me to the point I am almost embarrassed to admit I work in aged care.

While aged care needs reform to meet the changing needs of aged care patients who are now entering facilities with far more complex health needs than in previous years.

It is cruel and harsh to judge the people who care for them and much is being completely blown out of proportion.

Firstly this number of $6 a day to feed a resident.

I spend $150 a week to feed 4 people. This includes toiletries and cleaning products.

I do not buy my food wholesale like an aged care provider and my family eats very well on just over $5 per day per person.

$6 per day is not that shocking.

Secondly, malnourishment in aged care is not surprising.

When people are ill and entering the last phases of their lives they lose appetite. I see people no matter how hard we try will not eat more than enough to sustain a mouse.

And to force-feed someone is abuse.

Diseases affect the ability of the body to absorb nutrients and so does the natural aging process. It is a normal part of the process of dying not neglect.

Now falls.

Yes, there are a high number of falls in the elderly.

A person with dementia does not know not to walk.

A person who is stubborn will do it anyway.

Restraining a person in any way.

Including bedrails or putting a table in front of them or a walker out of reach is illegal.

It is abuse.

But some people need someone 1:1 24/7 preventing them from walking when they are unsafe to do so and there just isn’t enough funding for that.

There are over 1 million people in this country living in aged care and the media finds a couple of bad eggs and tars us all with the same brush.

Its scaring people and it’s wrong.

Now let’s talk about violence and abuse.

You are more likely to be a victim of violence and abuse if you are an aged care worker.

Not a resident.

Everyday aged care workers are bitten, kicked, punched and verbally assaulted.

I don’t know an aged care worker who has not been assaulted like this at work.

Where’s that in the media? But if we medicate an aggressive resident it’s abuse so we don’t.

A carer earns just over $20 an hour to be assaulted at work.

To miss lunch breaks in order to meet resident needs.

To watch people they love and care for die.

They hold on for hours to pee because they need to help 20 other people pee first. But get slammed in the media as abusers.

How is this fair???

Aged care also copped the fallout for Oakden.

Oakden was NOT an aged care facility.

It was a mental health facility for the elderly.

It was a government facility.

Mental Health, not nursing home!!!

It was a place where those people who could not safely be managed in a residential aged care facility went to live.

Now the government did not staff this facility as a mental health facility they saved money and staffed it as a nursing home.

So you had nurses and carers trying to look after the most violent aged people in our community with not enough staff to do it.

No wonder it all went to crap and do you know where these violent residents go now? Right into your local aged care facility.

There is one thing wrong with aged care. It is not food. It is not staff. It is not abuse.

It is the government.

It is inadequate government funding.

It is a failure by the government to legislate a staff to patient ratio. It is a failure by the government to provide fair wages to aged care workers.

It is a failure by the government to provide adequate mental health services.

Stop tarring us nurses and carers in aged care as monsters and start looking at the great people in aged care who pour their hearts into caring for the elderly and for less than a person gets paid at your local supermarket.

Ok, rant over now.

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  1. I worked in aged care for 5.5 years and what you say applies partly. I also saw staff putting their arm across a resident’s chest to stop her entering the dining room. I saw staff take a resident one each side and drag her into her bedroom. I saw staff use a slide sheet to transfer a resident from a bed to a princess chair. I saw abusive behaviour rather than person centered care every day and the list goes on. No amount of funding is going to change the attitude of staff like these nor training.

    1. I couldn’t agree more Denise. You forgot to mention over medicating and lack of care by a GP. The author of this article sounds like a very angry woman.

  2. That’s the real reality, well written.
    Nursing homes are forced, even tricked into taking aggressive residents. The hospital will drug their patients and tell facilities that they are easily managed. When they arrive at the home we aren’t allowed to use sycotropics and when they come down they have security of tenure and we struggle, staff are abused, residents terrified and families annoyed with the facility for taking violent residents. Thanks for nothing.

    The federal government has failed its duty of care to provide adequate and sustainable funding for the provision of services to the elderly.
    The liberals cut the funding in 2016, they blocked CPI, cancelled payroll tax subsidies etc and our Prime Minister has the temerity to weep on tv. He did this, he ignored report after report and his answer to the Royal Commission was to announce $452 million in funding. The little bit of that amount that goes to funding equals $2 per resident per day… or a kit kat. What rubbish they are!!

  3. I agree, and I had stopped wearing my uniform outside due to the abuse I was getting from the public. After 20 years in the industry, and so many inquiries and ongoing short staffing, management expecting staff to pay for items residents needs as there is no family or no caring family. I do hope fingers and toes crossed that the ratios for nurses and care staff are mandatory. I have laughed, cried and hugged residents and family members and were abused by the same. One of the biggest problems is as Aged Care Workers; we do care and often to the detriment of our health and family life. Once I stopped doing double and triple shifts and working up to 12 days a fortnight, I found my fellow work colleges ostracized me.

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