Workers stories from the Royal Commission- there are two sides to every story

From the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety:

Workers scared to speak up and a link found between failure in quality of care and spending on staff

Gerard Hayes, Health Services Union (which represents 4,000 aged care workers) talked, this week, about “inferior training, under-resourcing and cutting corners”.

“These are people struggling on a day-to-day basis . . . The work is so hard, they care so much that their frustration is just overwhelming. The training is insufficient. The recognition is non-existent. They are screaming out for help and not for themselves – for the residents.”

There was also mention of a culture that stops staff from calling out problems they see in their facility because they’re worried their hours will be cut, especially workers on student or work visas.

“If you are a whistle-blower and you are either on a minimum hours contract or you are in a precarious situation of being on a visa of some sort you need to think very clearly before you actually raise your hand."

A further examination into the link between failure in quality of care and spending on staff has also been suggested with a call for full financial data on each aged care provider to be made available to allow an examination.

Dr Richard Cumpston has said, in his submission:
“Our analyses have shown that homes with low Commonwealth funds per place have significantly higher risks of receiving a non-compliance notice or sanction. Availability of all the financial data would help analyses of the links between quality failures and staffing expenditures,”


86-year-old Barrie Anderson moved many with his testimony about his wife, diagnosed with dementia in 2002.
He said sometimes the staff at Grace’s aged care home are so busy they forget to feed her, so he visits her and gives her at least one meal every day.
But Mr Anderson also said that he believes this is a result of staff trying their best in an under-funded, under-staffed and over-worked system – an important point for the Commissioners to understand.

How can you help?

The Commission has now received over 1,200 public submissions from residents, families and aged care workers which is a great start and there are two public community forums scheduled.
The first happened last week in Bankstown in Sydney and the second in Bendigo in Victoria on Tuesday 5 March.
Future forums can be found here.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety wants to hear from the Australian community about their experiences of and ideas about aged care:

Dr Cumpston, mentioned above, is also seeking input from people working in the sector and health professionals and specialists about ways to measure any quality problems they have encountered.
He can be contacted on [email protected]

These Australian Government funded services are available to anyone who is experiencing concern or distress from their participation in or issues that emerge during the Royal Commission