The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released its interim report at the end of October 2019.

The report provides an alarming account of the state of aged care across Australia.

Entitled simply ‘Neglect’, the remainder of the 792 page report is equally as bleak.

‘A sad and shocking system’, ‘dispiriting and unsafe’, ‘transaction based’ and ‘stripping residents of their humanity’ paint a bleak picture of the industry caring for our most vulnerable.

Read the full interim report and accompanying media release.

This report has been covered extensively in the news and across social media.

 

Care staff weigh in

Aged care staff have expressed concern at the alarmist language that has been used to portray their industry.

Those with firsthand experience working in residential homes fear that the report has provided an imbalanced account.

At the time of the interim reports publication only 0.8% of all facilities, or 24 out of 2,672 homes, had been visited by the Commission. 

This small sample size has left staff feeling that they have not been represented and that the conclusions reached in the report may not be entirely accurate. 

There are also claims that the report is the inevitable outcome of an industry that has faced:

  • Continual funding cuts
  • Increased regulations
  • A lack of available skilled staff
  • An increased acuity of residents

 

From the Twitterverse

The findings of the Commission are being closely watched online, particularly by those involved in the industry through their work or having family members in residential care.

Many have taken to Twitter to voice their frustrations at the industry and current regulations:

  • #agedcareRC the workers are considered disposable, replaced with cheaper and cheaper staff
  • Skeleton staff at night despite having palliative residents #ProfitsVsCare
  • Save a shift = It’s where you have five people rostered on a shift, someone calls in sick and they don’t get replaced
  • We have a sad and unacceptable situation where more than 80% of staff say they don’t have time to provide social and emotional support 
  • The majority of the 40 000 people employed in Australian #agedcare are women and migrants, and their concerns about negligence in their workplace go unheard far too often 

 

A tough road to a better system

We hope the result of the Commission is a better system for everyone; consumers, their families and staff.

It’s important to remember that these findings are on an industry and its current structure, rather than on any individual staff that work tirelessly within it.

We hope to see a more well-rounded view of the sector emerge as the Commission continues into the New Year.

This ought to provide the opportunity for the currently underrepresented facilities to  demonstrate all that they do well in care, and to remind people of the warmth, compassion and determination that drives many aged care workers doing their best in a struggling system. 

As the system currently stands, staff are consistently facing low resident:staff ratios, at times battling physical and/or verbal abuse from some residents, and are expected to manage the burden of the ever-increasing documentation they need to provide. They need a voice in any future changes to the Aged Care sector too.

We welcome any and all changes that improve the lives of aged care residents, their families and loved ones, and the staff that care for these vulnerable people.