Citizens’ agenda: The Murraylands needs a better aged care system
We ask the candidates for Barker at the 2022 federal election how they would improve conditions for care recipients, residents and staff.
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“We need to take better care of our elderly.”
That’s a sentiment that shone through in a Murray Bridge News survey ahead of this month’s federal election.
Housing might be people’s top concern at the moment, and climate change and health – including mental health – are not far behind.
Aged care is an issue that has flown under the radar at times during this election campaign, despite a Royal Commission having recommended a total overhaul of the aged care system in a report – Care, Dignity and Respect – published only last year.
But almost a quarter of the 91 respondents to Murray Bridge News’ citizens’ agenda survey listed it among their top concerns ahead of the election.
“(An aged care provider) swallows more than 90 per cent of my grandmother’s support in admin fees,” one respondent said.
“Aged care facilities are profit-making machines and the support for community-run aged facilities is non-existent, causing many to be taken over by the big companies, which leads to exploitation of staff and residents.
“Any government assistance is swallowed up by the companies, with no improvement to service delivery.”
Nursing home residents need to be fed better, and they need more staff looking after them, another respondent said.
Something needed to be done about the high cost of residential aged care, too, a third respondent said.
We asked the candidates for Barker:
If elected, what would you do to improve our aged care system for residents and staff?
Jonathan Pietzsch (National)
The state of care for our elderly in the regions is something that concerns me, particularly in the smaller towns.
I believe that we should be doing all we can to support the older generation to stay in their own homes for as long as is possible.
In a country town this can be hard to do as the lack of services and the tyranny of distance start having an amplified impact.
The Nationals, in government, have been part of delivering additional home care packages, from 60,000 places 10 years ago to 195,000 now and with a forecast further 80,000 places over the next two years.
However, more still needs to be done.
If elected, I will be pushing for a dedicated stream of regional home care packages that takes into account the extra requirements and needs of those living outside of metro areas.
Keeping our elderly living independently and in the community that they know and that knows them needs to be our priority.
Carlos Quaremba (One Nation)
We seem to forget that the elderly people of our nation help build it and have sacrificed so much for what we enjoy now.
I believe it is well overdue that we repay them.
Providing the elderly with high quality care in their later years must not only be something we strive for but actually achieve.
We must respond to the Royal Commission’s recommendations in order to achieve this.
Nursing home staff wages must be increased to reflect the great service they provide to some of the most vulnerable in our society.
A priority must also be to allow those workers that have been removed from their positions due to mandates to return to do the job they love and do so well.
Vince Pannell (independent)
Murray Bridge News is awaiting a response from Mr Pannell.
Maddy Fry (independent)
Murray Bridge News is awaiting a response from Ms Fry.
Rosa Hillam (Greens)
We have a duty of care to provide good quality care for our aged, and dignity and respect to those who need to enter aged care and those who still have the ability to stay at home.
This should be non-negotiable for all Australians.
My father and both my grandparents were lucky enough to have me through those times and after seeing recent reports I am so glad I was able to do what was needed.
The Greens want to:
spend $6 billion to increase care to 418 minutes per resident, per day
introduce staff-to-resident ratios that ensure best quality care
guarantee a human rights approach to physical and chemical restraints
invest $260 million to keep home care packages clear
increase wages for aged care workers by 25 per cent and improve conditions and training
We also want to phase out for profit-providers.
Tony Pasin (Liberal)
The Morrison government has made a commitment to improve the quality of aged care.
We have committed to a five-year, $19.1-billion plan to improve aged care, with new home care packages, respite services, training places, retention bonuses and infrastructure upgrades to improve aged care, including for the 33,535 senior Australians living in Barker.
Under the Coalition plan an additional 40,000 home care packages, over 48,000 additional training places, 7000 new personal care workers and 8400 respite services will be rolled out this year.
We will embed pharmacy services within residential aged care facilities to improve medication management for the elderly.
We will increase the time nurses and carers are required to spend with residents.
We will make an additional payment to providers of $10 per day, per resident to boost the viability of the sector, and we will provide retention bonuses for nurses and increase access to respite services.
David Swiggs (United Australia)
Murray Bridge News is awaiting a response from Mr Swiggs.
Mark Braes (Labor)
Murray Bridge News is awaiting a response from Mr Braes.
Kym Hanton (Federation)
It is important that we ensure our elderly loved ones receive the best possible care and accommodation available.
Care facilities should always ensure that nurses are on shift and available.
Give staff a choice: more staff or a pay rise.
No amount of money can make up for stress and overwork.
If the staff can’t get the support they need, the time doesn’t matter.
Dietitian-approved diets in all facilities
A review of costs in nursing homes
Where support is necessary, grants to clear debts
One minister for NDIS and aged care
To respond to the Royal Commission recommendations, with a view to reducing the number of advisory boards
A clear agreement on responsibilities between state and federal governments
Guidelines to ensure proper care of residents
Then we can talk about finding more money.
Reasonable wage increases (are needed) in aged care, disability and home care.
There must be a review of funding for in-home care; that is the best place for the aged.
Meet the candidates for Barker
Murray Bridge News will host a public forum with the candidates for Barker at Tailem Bend Town Hall on the evening of Tuesday, May 17.
Book your free ticket: www.eventbrite.com.au.
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