Aged care workers under too much pressure

Aged care staff under too much pressure to meet needs, says whistleblower


Aged Care Royal Commission
Aged care staff are under too much pressure to adequately meet needs, according to a family member.

Aged care staff are under too much pressure to adequately meet needs, according to a family member.

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'All we've been highlighting is bad people out there,' says Oakden whistleblower.

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Australia's aged care sector includes many good people who find themselves under too much pressure to deliver the care needed, Oakden whistleblower Stewart Johnston says.

Ahead of a community forum in Adelaide on Monday as part of the aged care royal commission, Mr Johnston said he expected to hear stories of stressful working environments across the industry.

"Unfortunately, all we've been highlighting is the bad people out there," he said.

"But there are a multitude of good workers out there who are not being able to deliver the care they know they need to."

The aged care royal commission was sparked in part by the abuse of dementia patients at the South Australian government-run Oakden home, which has since been closed down and described as a "shameful chapter" in the state's history.

Mr Johnston, whose mother was at the Adelaide facility, was among a group of family members who blew the whistle on the scandalous treatment of their relatives.

He said wholesale change across the sector would only be possible through the provision of adequate funds for training and recruitment of staff and to ensure staff felt valued.

"We have to sort out the rogues in this sector and start directing the money where it needs to go," he said.

Representing aged care workers, United Voice Australia urged the royal commission to listen carefully to the experiences of those in nursing homes and other facilities who strive to provide the best care they can in the face of ongoing cuts.

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One worker, Di, who asked not to give her surname, said staffing levels were the biggest challenge.

"Our high needs dementia wards are always under the pump," she said outside the forum.

"Many of our residents have disabilities, which means the care needs of individuals are all different and often require specialist skills.

"We simply do not have enough time to give our older Australians the time and individual attention they deserve.

"Our older Australians deserve respect and care, not to be treated like numbers on a spreadsheet."

Mr Johnston said he believed the aged care sector needed to be split, with the government taking charge of looking after those with serious neurological issues and the private sector left to provide lifestyle care for those with less complex medical needs.

Australian Associated Press

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