E tū says staffing in aged care is inadequate and frequently unsafe for residents and carers.
An E tū/NZNO survey of 1200 caregivers reveals just one in ten staff believed their rest homes were sufficiently staffed to provide quality care.
Most report cares were missed on most if not all shifts as staff ration care.
In one tragic case, a resident died because they saw how over-worked the staff were and didn’t want to report an infected wound.
E tū members regularly report just two caregivers on shifts providing care for up to 60 frail and vulnerable people.
E tū delegate and care and support worker, Marianne Bishop says the survey reflects the reality of working life for the country’s aged care workforce.
“We believe staffing is inadequate to deliver quality care. We know from the survey that many carers are in despair.
“They’re absolutely exhausted at their end of their shift. They can’t take breaks because they want to get the work done. Then at the end of the day, they’re sitting in their cars and crying.
“And it’s not just about them. It’s about the care that’s being denied to the people they care for. It’s not right.
“We love our jobs, but I feel I can’t do the job to the standard I think our residents deserve. If you’re really short-staffed basic cares like showers don’t get done. And frequently, you can’t toilet people on time which is an insult to people’s dignity.”
Both unions want a review of the voluntary staffing standards for aged care, which allocates just 6 minutes per hour per resident, and are calling for higher mandatory staffing levels.
“Care is being denied to vulnerable elderly people who need it,” says E tū Industry Coordinator, Alastair Duncan.
“Our caregivers are burning out as they struggle with unsafe workloads. The sector has long been under-funded, and staffing has been an issue for years.
“But now it’s been cut to the bone at a time when residents are frailer with more complex care needs. At the end of the day it’s the vulnerable elderly who suffer,” he says.
“It means carers can’t spend any quality time at all with them. Our members get very upset that they can’t spare a moment to comfort an elderly person, or just talk to them.”
For more information contact:
Alastair Duncan E tū Industry Coordinator Care and Support Ph. 027 245 6593.
We can also provide contact details for Marianne Bishop and other caregivers.