Issues plague aged care

Issues plague aged care

Aged Care Royal Commission
Health Services Union boss Gerard Hayes has painted a grim picture of aged care across the country.

Health Services Union boss Gerard Hayes has painted a grim picture of aged care across the country.

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Almost two weeks of hearings in the aged care royal commission have revealed a raft of issues across the sector, from long delays for home care packages to un...

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Almost two weeks of hearings in the aged care royal commission have revealed a raft of issues across the sector, from long delays for home care packages to understaffing, a lack of funding and the need for better training.

The inquiry has taken evidence from advocacy groups, care providers, unions and some receiving care amid warnings the situation will only get worse in the years to come if decisive action isn't taken.

An increasing need for care will require the workforce to triple by 2050 with more than 80,000 extra people requiring assistance over the next decade.

Health Services Union president Gerard Hayes painted a grim picture of care across the country with overworked and underpaid staff, a lack of funding and a lack of resources.

He said the commission would hear some "staggering stories" and the situation would only get worse as demand grows.

"There's a tsunami off the coast and it's coming in," he said.

"In the next 10 to 15 years, we have got a major issue ahead of us."

But as more providers enter the market some like Kaye Warrener, whose husband Les is provided with home care, is concerned the industry is becoming a "commodity", a way to make money.

Ms Warrener said her experiences with aged care had left her with "fearful thoughts" of what lay ahead for both herself and her husband.

"We're strongly trying to prevent going into a home," she said.

Her feelings echoed those of people surveyed recently by UnitingCare Australia, especially some who said they would "rather die" or "poke their eye with a pencil", than go into an aged care facility.

"The expectations of people are that residential aged care is not a good place to be," national director Claerwen Little told inquiry.

The commission will wrap up its Adelaide hearings on Friday.

Australian Associated Press

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