We invited members of our community to share their experiences and perspectives of aged care services. Disclaimer: These stories have not been independently verified. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of Aged Care Reform Now and are shared for information purposes only.
Following a few falls at home (falling off the bed), we agreed that my mother was no longer able to look after my frail 88-year-old dad. He entered a large private aged care facility, in a well-populated leafy suburb. We did not shop around as we had to make a quick decision, we preferred a place within a close driving distance from mum’s house, and as he was a pensioner with no other assets apart from the home he shared with mum, we had limited options.
From the beginning, the staff were responsive to Dad, and I liked the way they responded to older people with kindness and care. The management was another story, not involved, evasive and if we needed anything like a hoist above the bed to assist dad getting up, it appeared only because we continued to ask for it.
Visiting during the day was fine, and at that stage, dad was able to look after his personal needs unassisted. We did notice that there was a lack of staff for people confined to a wheelchair and physically frail, who would repeatedly ask for help.
I am not going to go into detail, but the lack of staff numbers at night, particularly when I occasionally visited at 7.30 p.m., meant that residents confined to wheelchairs or needing assistance were not able to deal with their personal hygiene.
Three events made me very angry;
- My mum noticed medication that was not dad’s, left at dad’s bedside table. She questioned the nurse, who said that it belonged to someone else and she could not discuss it as she needed the job;
- My dad had a fall, and following the fall was permanently confined to a wheelchair. We received no notification and were shocked to find dad in a wheelchair; and
- I arrived one morning at around 8.30 a.m. at the facility and they were bringing out new wheelchairs and frames. I thought how terrific. The next day the new wheelchairs etc had disappeared and I heard someone say they had an audit yesterday.
These type of bad business practices need to be exposed, and together the providers, the staff, the residents and their families have an obligation to keep improving aged care.
Do you need support? OPAN provides free services to support older people and their representatives address issues related to Commonwealth-funded aged care services and informs people of their rights and responsibilities: 1800 700 600 or opan.com.au