Australia’s elderly deserve so much better. And they deserve it now

ANMF media release September 18, 2018

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says tonight’s harrowing Four Corners investigation into aged care homes reveals a sector in crisis and an entire section of the Australian community that has been abandoned.

“Our members have long-been raising their concerns about dangerously low staffing levels in nursing homes, as well as practices uncovered by tonight’s program, such as restriction of continence pads and appallingly unhealthy food. The revelations from the program are beyond distressing, they are intolerable,” ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said.

“As a society, we have a moral obligation to stop this neglect and abuse of the elderly, we cannot allow it to continue, not for one single day longer.

“Every day that we wait for the Federal Government to act on staffing shortages, is yet another day that the most vulnerable members of our society are forced to suffer – without proper care, without proper food, without compassion and without dignity. Voiceless and abandoned.

“We commend the workers and residents’ families who bravely spoke out on tonight’s Four Corners program for their commitment to stand up for the care of our elderly and exposing the problems in aged care homes across Australia.

“Despite the very best efforts of many dedicated aged nurses and care workers, without minimum staffing ratios it just isn’t possible for them to deliver the care that elderly residents need. There is no law, no minimum standard or any form of evidence based model for safe staffing in aged care.

“And although aged care providers receive billions of dollars annually in tax-payer funded subsidies, there is no law to guarantee that this money is used to ensure safe and best practice care for every elderly Australian living in nursing homes. We need to ensure public funding goes directly to care provision.

“While the crisis in aged care exposed tonight clearly warrants a Royal Commission, we know what the problems are. We have two decades’ of reports and inquiries outlining the problems. It’s time to take action. Let’s start by introducing a safe staffing law now.”

“It’s time to stand up and fight for more staff for aged care, because no one deserves to be treated like this.

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