Ross Gittins: “When you think about it, aged care is the ultimate women’s issue. Of those receiving aged care, women outnumber men two to one. Who does most of the worrying about how mum or dad are being treated — and probably most of the visiting? More likely to be daughters than sons. The [Aged Care Royal C]ommission’s report found that the root cause of the common ill-treatment of people in aged care is the insufficient number, inadequate training and low pay of aged care workers. And who are these overworked, undertrained and woefully paid age care workers? Almost all of them are women. Now do you see why aged care conditions have been low on the priorities of successive governments? Not enough rich white men jumping up and down. Aged care is huge. Despite understaffing, it has 366,000 paid staff, 68,000 volunteers and 28,000 contractors — about 3 per cent of the whole workforce. The report found that at least a third of people in residential and at-home care had experienced substandard care. It identified food and malnutrition, dementia care, use of physical and chemical restraints and palliative care as needing urgent improvement. Aged care used to have prescribed staffing ratios, but they were removed as part of the push to get for-profit providers into the ‘industry’. The report found that what regulation of facilities exists isn’t enforced because the government knows it’s not paying enough to make quality care possible.” Read that again — the Royal Commission report found that what regulation of facilities exists isn’t enforced because the government knows it’s not paying enough to make quality care possible.
16 March 2021