Due to widespread budget cuts, aged care workers believe they are unable to provide the level of care residents deserve in aged care facilities and nursing homes.
Esther Priol who works at an aged care facility in Sydney’s west, is just one of many aged care workers fed up with the rationing to save money and the constant neglect being shown by the large operators.
“We have been told we have been spending too much money on pads,” Ms Priol said. “Unless they are 75 per cent wet, then the rule is we don’t change them.
According to the SMH, aged care provider Bupa outlined in a memo a protocol for sticking to the continence “pad quota” which is running “over budget”.
NSW Health Services Union Secretary Gerald Hayes believes $3 billion in federal budget cuts since 2013 has put aged care residents in serious jeopardy. The evidence of these effects is shown in a study published in the Nutrition and Dietetics Journal in July, which shows the decrease in the amount of money spent per resident per day from $6.34 to $6.08 between July 2014 and June 2016.
“When our members are told they have to ration out sanitary pads or keep food budgets under $6 a day, you know something is seriously crook,” Mr Hayes said.
“As a society, we need to ask why we shower praise and reward on the CEOs of major corporations like banks, while we push aged care workers to their physical and emotional breaking point,” he said.
Aged care worker Marta Ordenes has reported similar frustrations to Ms Priol with concerns about the dignity of the aged care residents.
Mr Ordenes said her facility is usually staffed with just five full-time carers and one registered nurse to care for almost 70 aged care residents. Staffing levels remained the same despite the needs of residents increasing.
“They call and call and want help to go to the toilet and we can’t get there in time. It’s not a nice feeling for them or for us,” said Ms Ordenes.
“Most of them have nobody but us and we can’t even take 10 to 15 minutes to take them for a walk and just talk to them.
“To spend time with them, you have to do it on your break, but sometimes we don’t even have time to have a break. We need more staff to give them decent care and their dignity.”
What do you think? Should the Federal Government be reviewing the state of aged care in Australia and setting clearer standards for staff to patient ratios? Have you or a loved one experienced the neglect that’s being reported?