Adj Assoc Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM, CEO/Secretary of the ANMF (SA Branch), said lack of resources and staffing had created a situation where aged care workers have been reduced to tears at being unable to provide the level and quality of care required.
Ms Dabars said aged care workers were “dedicated and passionate people who provide care with compassion and kindness’’. However, there were simply not enough staff to provide quality care, noting that it was all too common to have one Registered Nurse for 100 plus residents.
“The ANMF (SA Branch) has long been advocating for greater accountability and transparency in funding provided to the aged care sector so all of us can be confident that the $20 billion a year the Government spends on aged care is invested in providing care rather than boosting executive salaries or shareholder dividends,’’ she said.
“The need to improve and regulate staffing levels and the skills of the workforce in aged care is not new. ANMF members around the country have been campaigning for safe nurse/carer to resident ratio laws in Australia’s private-for-profit and not-for-profit aged care facilities for over two decades.
“The Commonwealth Government needs to urgently address this chronic problem made even more evident as aged care facilities have been hit by escalating care needs associated with COVID readiness. This is the national government’s responsibility, and now is the time to act.
“The situation in Victoria, and in many countries overseas, is a stark warning of what could easily happen here. At a time when health care workers are being lauded as heroes and aged care services struggle to cope with the devastating impacts of COVID-19, we have seen continuing cuts to staffing as well as reduction of shifts and adjustments to rosters. All resulting in fewer people with the required skills and experience to provide care.
“At any time, this would be gravely concerning but doing this now during the pandemic is simply beyond reckless and irresponsible.’’