Calls for aged care workers to be registered like nurses 17



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Following the horrifying abuse of an elderly dementia patent in an aged care facility, there are calls for all aged care workers to be subjected to the same registration process as nurses.

Earlier this week, the ABC’s 7:30 program aired footage showing a carer holding a napkin over an 89-year-old man’s face and roughing him up as he lay defenceless in bed.

The footage was shocking to say the least and has lead to calls for a drastic overhaul of the system.

South Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation’s Elizabeth Dabars said she has been lobbying for these changes for years and it seems it was only a matter of time before something is terrible happened.

“At the moment enrolled nurses and registered nurses are certainly regulated or registered through the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency,” she told ABC.

“We believe, and we have been lobbying for many years now, that care workers should also be regulated through the same system.”

After seeing the footage, many people agree with her and are calling on the government to make changes sooner rather than later.

The other tragic side of the story is that when the elderly man’s daughter reported her initial suspicions of abuse to staff at the facility, she was ignored and brushed aside.

It was only when she took matters into her own hands and set up a secret camera in her father’s room that she caught the abuse on film.

(Warning: distressing footage)

Every year there are about 200 allegations of abuse in aged care.

Does it seem strange to you that we would make our nurses be registered but not our aged care workers?

To many it doesn’t make sense that we would allow people to do this kind of work without a proper system to hold them accountable…

What are your thoughts on this?

Should aged care workers need to be registered? Would you feel safe if you had to go into a care facility one day?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I worked in a nursing home at the end of my training and it was disgusting I could not stand the way these older people were treated . People in charge were the worst.

    1 REPLY
    • I couldn’t agree more. Registration of Managers and Workers, that is Police and DCS clearances. Included should be a monitoring group who without notice to the home or its managers make unannounced visits checking on how the home and its employees are performing. Its all too easy for them to put on a show if they know they are being audited. As the saying goes if you have nothing to hide why worry when an unexplained audit occurs? The management and staff at this particular care facility chose to ignore the family concerns? They are as guilty as the person who assaulted this gentleman and lacked care and compassion and failed miserably in their duty of care. I sincerely hope that action is taken against this home, management and the low down life who got caught being abusive. My thoughts are with the gentleman and his family who placed their trust in these people. Although this is of little comfort to the family concerned I can only commend the management and staff at Hawksbury Gardens Aged Care Facility, Salisbury North where my late dad was a resident in late 2013. Their open policy ensured that at all times the staff were being transparent in their care of their residents.

  2. Oh my goodness it’s terrible, I was a qualified nurse for 43 years and I never ever treated anyone like this. All rooms and areas should have cameras and the relatives should be given regular access to them. I hope they were put in prison for a long time 😥

  3. Should also open the debate on quality of life for our aging population and euthanasia, patient does not walk or talk, I think it cruel.

    2 REPLY
    • I absolutely agree Jo. I have signed petitions for this very subject. I know I (personally) would not want to live like that.

      1 REPLY
      • Most Australians agree with us but we just need a government that is willing to first debate it and then draft proper legislation. It’s been done successfully in some European countries but with our extreme conservative politicians its not likely to happen for at least 20 years….too late for most of us.

    • I think the focus should be kept on the appalling treatment in some of the aged care nursing homes and what can be done to improve the patients treatment. At the.very least this person needs to be sacked and prosecuted for physical and mental abuse. Bring up euthanasia under these circumstances is like justifying the ‘care givers’ actions by trying to fix the victim.

  4. I believe there should be changes and if these experienced and professional people. think registering workers will help well ok. However, I fail to see how registering will identify a person like this one. My father is in a secure dementia ward and there are two staff for 18 residents, with a manager floating around now and then I believe the problem is mostly a managerial one. There are three shifts per 24 hours and after 10 pm only one staff member on duty. (In my father’s ward) There are staff that only work one day per week or only on weekends, some with language difficulties and some coerced into this work from Newstart training programs. It is the responsibility of each carer to speak out if they suspect someone of negligence, but that can be very difficult. It is ultimately the responsibility of the manager at the top to ensure the integrity and competence of the staff. I do not believe my father is physically abused, but there is neglect and my complaints to management were met with patronising platitudes. Then, of course, some of the staff treat me with disdain. It is lowly paid and sometimes compromises are made in staff recruitment. We would rather have these type of people indentified early, not just made accountable after the fact. I know that there are wonderful carers and some excellent homes, but they all should be delivering the same level of care to everyone. The answer to that is always funding shortages, but the actual answer is priority.

    1 REPLY
    • Newstart has a lot to , for some of the care workers have only been in the country 6 weeks in my mums nursing home they are delightful ,but no experience of how to interact with the elderly they are going through the motions !!!

  5. This person is not worthy of being called a human being. Being cruel to the elderly is is akin to being cruel to a defenseless baby. Needs to be charged with agrivated assault and do time for this. It’s disgusting!!

  6. Yes certainly disgusting. I worked in a nursing home at the start of my nursing training and watched as 2 carers roughly handled a resident of to get her into bed. They said its called ‘rough nursing’. Obviously horrifed I attempted to raise the issue with a Senior Nurse but soon found myself ostracized by the staff. Another confronting practice was to try and shovel food into residents mouths as quickly as possible, when they needed alot more time to swallow it. Consequently alot become malnourished. I think I lasted there for about a month as I simply wouldn’t and couldn’t adopt that sort of culture.

  7. Absolutely aged care workers should be required to undergo assessment of their suitability to care for the elderly . It appears anyone without any previous training or education of the care of aged people can obtain employment in these facilities . Elderly people have many complex health issues and should receive gold standard care. While there are many well meaning carers, too often the bottom line is the profit margin. A change in training and legislation is urgently needed to protect the elderly ..Government intervention for the care of this population is as necessary as the rules that protect children in child care centres.

  8. registered like a nurse would help as once caught loose her regerstaration sacked and can’t just go work in another home in another town or state so yes

  9. It would seem that aged people are no longer valued and are considered insignificant. Proper nursing persons are definitely needed to care for them in a way they deserve

  10. Pay peanuts get monkeys – this is hardly a rewarding career choice. I fell into caregiving/ auxiliary nursing at 16 and initially had a passion for caring for elderly. 15 years later I left to persue better paid work. I would return if the money was reasonable but minimum wage won’t get you good quality people like me sorry – I can’t financially afford to care any more 🙁

    1 REPLY
    • Reading these posts it seems that professional nursing staff were sometimes told of issues and ignored them. They are just as bad. Even the well trained and educated can be mean and abusive. A lot of carers are unskilled but doing an incredible job for terrible wages and understaffed work conditions . Please don’t label them all with the same brush. I. Have worked in ages care and am amazed at the care and devotion some of these unskilled carers give to a sometimes demanding abusive aggressive elder person.

  11. I was a nurse aid in a rest home many years ago and I was discasted in the way other nurse aids had been treating the elderly. It upset me. I totally agree that they should be registered nurses.

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