Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Our broken aged care system

A Royal Commission is underway into our aged care system and I expect it is on the run after so many COVID nursing home deaths. Our nursing home and aged care system is a broken model.

I blame Prime Ministers Morrison, Turnbull, Abbott, Rudd and Gillard. None did anything to fix the problem

Sydney's Newmarch House had a very high death toll as staff fled the facility, leaving residents unfed and unwashed. This was in the early days of COVID in Australia and we were on a steep learning curve but it is no excuse for our Federal Government that should have been prepared and is responsible for aged care.

St Basil's in Melbourne has also been a disaster with many more deaths. I am only using St Basil's as an example of the shocking situation of nursing home care in Australia. It could equally apply to many nursing homes.

Thanks to The Age newspaper and Channel 9 tv for information I will put into my own words.

St Basil's is essentially for the care of old Greek born Australians. They came to Australia as cheap labour, although paid appropriate wages. They did well and paid their taxes. 

The Greek Orthodox Church looks after them in their dotage at St Basil's. I would expect they pay most of their old age pension for their care. I don't really have a problem with that.

There is a police investigation underway, a coronial investigation underway, as well as a class legal suit by family underway. 

If The Age is to be believed, 90% of St Basil's last year funding of $13 million comes from the Federal Government. Of this the nursing home pays over $2 million a year as rent back to the Greek Orthodox Church. I've no idea where the Greek born Australian pensioners' money goes. 

Let me make this clear. The Greek Orthodox Church owns St Basil's nursing home and the nursing home pays the the Greek Orthodox Church $2 million a year in rent, meanwhile being propped up by our Federal Government for 90% of its funding. The local council says the rental is twice what it should be on council valuation of the property. The death toll at St Basil's has been horrendous.

Crooks, liars, thieves and charlatans and almost adding murderers. Our aged care system is very broken and be afraid as there is a good chance that we all may need it at some point.

37 comments:

  1. I am scared witless about needing it. And our Federal Government is responsible for aged care, and has ducked and weaved away from its responsibilities for a very, very long time.

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    1. EC, indeed, many of us feel like that and we will often dependant on others to find appropriate care for us. Victoria has a number of very well state run nursing homes, mostly in the country.

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  2. It is a frightening thought what we have in store for us.

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    1. Marie, but the place your mother was in was ok wasn't it?

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  3. John Howard privatised aged care in 1997 which has become a profit driven and Federal government subsidised industry. It would be a fate worse than death for me to end my days in one of these places.

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    1. Cheryl, I don't think it is a lack of staff care. It is that there is not enough staff and cost cutting is rampant.

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  4. Steve's mum's house had to be sold to pay a substantial capital deposit for her to be admitted to her local aged care place. They took 75% of her aged pension fortnightly and when she passed away the capital deposit was eventually returned less monthly fees which were deducted. We thought we were doing the best for her as we had no other option at the time. We would advise anyone to avoid it at all costs for anyone you love or care about.

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    1. Cheryl, you didn't have an alternative. Often enough there is not. It is good that more money is being allocated to keeping people at home, but eventually that becomes impossible.

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  5. Well, I guess I'm both fortunate, and unfortunate, depending on which way it's looked at.

    I have no family to care for, or to care about me...and I have not enough money to go into Aged Care.

    Too many adult children of ageing parents/parent, selfishly, aren't prepared repay the debt...to be the ones to take care of them, to nurture them..hands-on...as their parent/s did for them throughout the formative years...throughout their childhood etc...so the elderly have to go into Aged Care; either there or, in drastic instances, become homeless, living on the streets.

    It's kind of the "rock and the hard place" situation isn't it? It's always easu to toss the blame around, than it is to put that energy and care in caring and doing something positive about whatever the problem is.

    I sure don't want to be a problem to anyone; my hope is I never will be. Anyway, as I said, there is no one for me to be a problem for, or to!

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    1. Lee, I kind of agree with you about younger people caring for their parents but in so many cases with both parents working and such busy lives, it would be quite difficult to give proper care. So far as I know there are government funded places in care for those who don't have assets or cash. Lavish facilities are probably overrated compared to basic care.

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  6. The for profit model in Canada is a disaster also. So many deaths in Quebec and Ontario. An absolute disgrace. And yes in Quebec the staff left the residents to die in their own filth and starvation when Covid broke out. Paid a pittance as emigrant workers, but that's only an aside.

    I'm an activist for the aged and elderly as you know, and in spite of all protests absolutely nothing has been done.

    Terrifying for any one of us forced to enter one of these institutions.
    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, it sounds the same as here. The pay here too is lousy, as staff flit from one place to another to make a living wage and carry infection from one facility to another. Many immigrant workers too and while it is not fair to blame them, they don't know Australian culture well enough to deal with old people.

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  7. I think it is often an issue of dumb luck. My parents lived in a fancy residence in Caulfield and received top quality medical care, meals, social activities etc. The Board had regular meetings with residents and their children to ensure standards were never compromised.

    15 years earlier, my grandmother was always in tears from the crappy care from the supervisor and the staff.

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    1. Hels, your parents could afford high level care, but even money doesn't mean you are immune from neglect. Sad about your grandmother.

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  8. I am terrified at the thought of going into a nursing home. I know there are good ones around, but they are few and far between. My 95 year old mother in law is in a home and her children all visit regularly, so I'm sure she is being well cared for, otherwise I would have heard any bad stories I'm sure.
    The local church run home where my 70+ neighbour moved to a few years ago seems to be okay too, they have games and other activities and whenever I see her, (P), she seems well and happy; also clean with washed hair which wasn't the case when he was living in the flats.
    I think I would prefer to stay in my home, with care as necessary, until they cart me out in a box.

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    1. River, isn't our ideal to die in our sleep and not have to go into care. I remember you writing about P. It's good that she has good care, as for your mother in law. It seems a bit hit and miss to me.

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    2. Most of the workers in P's home are Indian, a gentle set of people from a country that respects its aged population. I believe it is a church run home, but can't be 100% sure on that.
      I will say that if politicians had to retire to state run nursing homes, you'd see improvements so fast your head would spin!

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  9. Back in the UK, most of the care homes were either bought, or established, by the Asian community. They charge outrageous prices, give little care, and manage to end-up with all their clients money. Privatisation might be OK for the Gas and Electricity Co's, but care for the elderly should have stayed as part of the NHS.

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    1. Cro, it is the same here, adjusting for language differences, they are often owned by people from the sub continent, as we say Indian. Sri Lankan and maybe Pakistanis. I don't care at all for privatisation of any essential service and aged care is one of them.

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  10. And then there are the good ones. I can assure you they ‘are’ out there - not necessarily the big flash ones but ones who provide the care they say they will.

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    1. Cathy, that is the impression I get. It is not how much you spend but finding the right one.

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  11. It's all a disgrace and so are some of the staff, how a nurse could not look after a patient is beyond me.
    I just don't understand it at all. Any of it.

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    1. Margaret, what nurse? In federally funded nursing homes there is little requirement for any nursing staff. They are all low paid carers.

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  12. Oh my gosh this is one more reason to stay as fit and healthy as we can to avoid these places! It certainly isn't a happy prospect to look forward to ✨

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    1. Grace, stay fit and healthy and it is more likely you will need a nursing home. Start smoking, drinking and plonk yourself in front of the tv and die young and beautiful.

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    2. You might have something there Andrew 😁😁

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  13. In the US, as we steadily approach 200,000 COVID deaths, 40% of them are in "long term care facilities" in the County I live in 53%. A poorly paid, poorly trained workforce, a lack of personal protective equipment, a warehouse like environment with poor infection control. I could go off on a long rant, it is time for reform.

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    1. Worse in your country Travel than here. But all is just too awful. It is the same here.

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  14. Certainly places to avoid in our old age. There might be good ones out there, but probably not many. At our Clinic we have 2 Doctors who visit Nursing Homes and they always say to "if you can avoid this one or that one, dreadful care mainly due to the lack of staff!!

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    1. Sami, staffing seems to be the real issue, especially proper nursing staff.

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  15. Well, let's hope the government does not go bankrupt. Then, who will be paid and how?

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    1. Gigi, with governments able to borrow money at pretty well 0% interest, I don't think that will happen. Money is still being moved around the world.

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  16. What crookery, and its the same here, with nursing homes. People who own them make a mint, while treating the residents like so much crap, literally.

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  17. $5000 to $6000 a month here for a care home, where the residents get mush to eat, tiny rooms and not much else. You could rent a hotel room with private nurse far cheaper.

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    1. Strayer, over $1000 a week. That seems very high but I don't really know what the costs are here.

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  18. At least our health care system is good for everybody at least one thing ! But nothing is religious, religion is completely kept out from politics.

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    1. Gattina, mostly our system is good but aged care lets it down.

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.