Friday 27th November 2009
Nurses from across Australia spread the word about respecting aged care at last months national Day of Action for Aged Care.
Snow and icy cold winds didn’t stop NSWNA and ANF members determined to raise community awareness about aged care. On Wednesday 7 October, they ran stalls and organised activities at nursing homes across the country, collecting thousands of postcards to send to MPs.
In NSW, approximately 1,700 postcards were collected from seven community stalls in electoral seats Richmond, Bennelong, Robertson, Dobell, Lindsay and Macquarie, and four nursing home events at Cardinal Freeman in Ashfield, Rotherham in Ryde, Kanandah Retirement Village in Mudgee and Miranda Aged Care Facility.
At Kanandah Retirement Village, local MP Mark Coulton marked the Day of Action by visiting the facility the day before. He expressed a wish to receive thousands of postcards, as he has a father in a nursing home and was sympathetic to the Because we care cause.
Linda Langton, RN at Miranda Aged Care Facility, and her colleagues used the Day of Action to educate staff at the home about the Because we care campaign. Enticed by pizzas and chocolate, around 25 nurses attended the event. ‘Some staff came in their lunch hour and others came in on their day off,’ said Linda. ‘We talked about the campaign and its objectives and how we can make a difference. They took postcards for their family and friends to sign and they’ll bring them back to me so I can deliver them to our local MP.
‘The event was a great opportunity to let nurses at the home know that the NSWNA and ANF are working hard for aged care nurses, to bring their conditions and wages to the attention of politicians,’ Linda continued. ‘It’s good to know the Union is backing us up.’
The response from a stall in a shopping mall at Gosford was extremely positive, according to Debbie Lang, RN at Gosford Private Hospital. ‘Not one person knocked us back,’ she said. ‘We explained what we were doing and that our purpose was to raise awareness of aged care and to lobby the Government to get more funding to improve aged care, and we had people walking up to us. People were so keen to sign the postcards that they waited in line to get a card. They were very happy to sign and even brought their family members back. They’d say, “I’m going to meet my husband or daughter” and would bring them to the stall to sign a postcard.’
Around 300 postcards were signed on the day and Debbie was pleasantly surprised by the different types of people who were keen to support the campaign. ‘Even teenage mums came up and said, “I’ve got a nan in aged care.” A lot of people who work in aged care also came past and our stall got their attention. People were really happy to sign and we were thrilled.’
In Queensland, members held 40 events; while in Melbourne the focus was on attending appointments with local MPs to discuss aged care issues. This included a meeting with Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner. Tasmanian members held a ‘high tea’ with around 20 nurses, and members in NT visited nursing homes in Alice Springs to talk about the Because we care campaign.