AGED CARE COMPROMISED ON A DAILY BASIS

AGED CARE COMPROMISED ON A DAILY BASIS

Media Release

United Voice members have been devastated by revelations about the aged care sector, but unfortunately many aged care workers are placed in situations that lead to poor care on a daily basis.

United Voice has continuously argued issues of quality are workforce issues, and will once again be making this argument in its submission to the proposed Royal Commission.

United Voice will also submit that funding cuts to aged care of $2 billion by Scott Morrison when he was Treasurer have worsened the workforce issues affecting the quality of residential aged care.

“We are facing yet another inquiry and we will no doubt see calls for tougher regulation,” United Voice national secretary Jo-anne Schofield said today.

“What would really fix things up would be giving aged care workers the time, respect and conditions that allow them to do the job they love to the levels required by older Australians.”

The union acknowledges the pain of families who see their loved ones suffering in the aged care system, and applauds whistleblowers who have revealed widespread issues.

 

WA aged care worker Gwyn says:

“I want things to change for old people.

 “I have been in aged care for 15 years and working with dementia patients for the past 13 years. We’re all heartbroken at times because we can’t give the people what they want.

“We have dementia residents coming up to us and saying: ‘You don’t have time to talk to us.’ We get trained to take them through their day – now you rush them.

“I have worked out that from 7am, if we gave 15 minutes for residents’ showers and 20 to 25 minutes for residents who use hoists and allowed an hour for breakfast, we would finish our last resident at 2.15pm.”

 

United Voice national secretary Jo-anne Schofield says:

“United Voice members are the human face of care and they love their jobs, but they are under enormous stress. 

“Quality care is put at risk by high workloads, unpredictable hours, and a lack of support for carers in performing their roles. Funding cuts, which are inevitably borne by the workforce, haven’t helped.” 

“Older people deserve an aged care system where the system supports quality care and the workers who provide it”

Ends

Available for interview: United Voice national secretary Jo-anne Schofield.

Media team: 0425 242 691

 

 

Background:

Workplace issues affecting quality of care that have been highlighted by United Voice in numerous previous inquiries include:

  • High workloads.
  • About one in 10 workers in aged care have two jobs, about double the national average.
  • Inadequate or unpredictable hours.
  • Staff being employed on the lowest legal minimum.
  • High-stress work environments that take a physical, emotional and psychological toll.
  • Inadequate supervision and training.

Statistics that underline the high pressure placed on workers include:

  • About three quarters of the aged care sector workforce are in permanent part-time positions; most of the remainder are casuals.
  • About half the staff in the aged care sector holding Cert III or Cert IV qualifications are paid the barest legal minimum – often salaries just above the minimum wage.

 

United Voice aged care workers from United Voice submissions:

“It is very distressing for staff not to be able to give more time or timely care to our residents. While most staff are well organised and determined to provide excellent care it is difficult as there is only approximately 15 minutes per client available in the mornings. It seems that we provide care in between other duties rather than as our main priority.”

United Voice aged care member

“We should not have residents getting up late and missing out on quality of life just because we have time constrictions. Our time constrictions leads to only quick washes for some residents, residents being left incontinent in bed, leaving them in bed, often over filled or left behind skips at the end of the shift. This deeply saddens us as staff as we believe everyone is important and should be receiving a premium level of care.”

United Voice aged care member

“I enjoy the interaction with people but I never worked so hard physically before working in aged care. Staffing levels are too low. Often it’s just too hard.”

United Voice aged care member

“When I think about the challenges in my job that make me want to leave, they are unstable working hours, split shifts and low wages.”

United Voice aged care member

“My hours change all the time, I am a casual so my hours worked can be busy when the permanent staff are on leave and minimal when they are not, I have a second job just to keep me afloat financially.”

United Voice aged care member

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