Jun 21, 2021

Cleaners help care for dementia patients in understaffed regional hospital

Cleaners help dementia patients

Last week, the hearing was presented with accounts of “chronic, inadequate underfunding”, difficulties attracting and retaining staff in the north-eastern NSW hospital, and the downgrading of facilities and services.

Former nurse and now president of the Manning Great Lakes Community Health Action Group, Eddie Wood, told the inquiry Taree’s services began to decline after they joined Hunter New England.

Staff had become “demoralised” and were leaving their jobs, a situation he said was “atrocious”, according to a report in The Newcastle Herald.

Manning Hospital’s emergency department was short seven staff, with staffing levels in “dire straits”.

“They have also been asked on the wards to actually sit and monitor the dementia patients because we no longer have a 16-bed dementia ward,” he said.

Hunter New England Health chief, Michael DiRienzo, said later in the day he did not believe cleaners at Manning Base Hospital were looking after dementia patients.

“I’ll need to follow it up, but I don’t believe the cleaners do that. 

“And if they were I would know because I would assume the cleaners themselves would want to bring that to our attention,” he said.

The inquiry will continue this week.

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