Exposed by Royal Commissions and now COVID 19, the Aged Care Industry languor, inefficient and broken, with recommendations continuously ignored by Government.
Privatised by John Howard to avoid the endless cost of providing for an ageing population, the industry is now serviced by providers making profit from the suffering of our elderly, one of our most vulnerable populations.
Traditionally staffed by women from an age past where volunteers and the church provided care, care staff wages are some of the lowest paid in our country, burn out is common and duties are stigmatised. Many care staff must work across several facilities to make a wage. We devalue the people we trust to look after our most vulnerable. Even position titles have been devalued. Titles have changed from Assistant in Nursing to Personal Care Worker or home worker. Home Care Packages are approved but not available and people die before they receive the care they have been approved for.
Fortunately, the industry still attracts compassionate and caring people who genuinely want to make a difference in the world. Workers must be given time to care. They are rushed off their feet completing hygiene duties and have little time for person centred practice and emotional support. Documenting is usually not completed by the first person.
COVID has exposed the lack of training in Infection Control. We can only wonder why Infection Control is not a core unit in current aged care training.
Although quality training of staff has been raised time and again, there are still 6-week courses available. Job providers receive funding at the completion of courses and so steer the unemployed to complete inadequate short courses. Manual Handling training is often non-existent in courses and workers rely on the buddy system while completing Vocational Placement to learn these skills. This is fraught with failure if the buddy has not been taught well themselves.
These issues and many others concern the Community Services training staff at Skills Strategies International. We aim to work towards the development of a solution.