Can aged care get better?
LOU PASCUZZI, CEO OF TLC AGED CARE, SPEAKS ABOUT STAFFING RATIOS AND TRAINING TO ENSURE RESIDENTS RECEIVE THE VERY BEST OF CARE
THE aged care royal commission has shone a spotlight on fundamental issues with both private and public providers in the aged care sector.
The complexity of the issues facing the industry is enormous, but there are viable solutions to these systemic problems.
Two of the major issues facing our industry are staffing, and the quality of care that they provide.
There have been many heartbreaking stories of neglect and abuse of our vulnerable elderly heard at the commission; these range from a lack of regard to outright abuse.
I believe that instances of elderly abuse in the aged care sector are the result of staff who are poorly trained, overworked or inadequately supervised; these problems can be solved.
In an unprecedented move for the aged care industry, TLC’s enterprise agreement contains prescribed staffing ratios.
I expect that our agreement came as a bit of a shock to some people in the aged care industry who have lobbied against staff ratios for many years.
The truth of the matter is, we know exactly how many staff are required to care for a resident, and we are more than happy to commit to those numbers.
Any provider who says that staff ratios in aged care are not necessary is clearly not listening to public sentiment. Residents are investing a great deal of money with us, and they deserve to receive the very best of care.
TLC has phased out its use of agency staff thanks to its new program, TLC On Call™. The program employs an internal pool of nursing and care staff on a casual basis, who are trained in our systems, security checked and ready to fill shifts at our homes on short notice.
One of the major barriers to completing certificate level training in aged care is finding a facility that will allow a student to do the practical placement training that is required to complete their course.
TLC has invested significant resources into registering as a training organisation, so that we can train our own staff and recruit the best people from our own pool of students.
Working under the supervision of registered nurses 24 hours a day, and our in-house doctors, our workforce is supported, properly trained and well supervised.
Aged care can be better, and profitable, but it will take a fundamental shift in the service platform and mindset of the industry, and transitional support from the Government.