After the recent publicity on the alleged abuse of an elderly man in an Adelaide nursing home I felt it was important to address some issues in regard to aged care.
The following opinions are my own and I just want to clarify that I am a family carer and not employed in the industry. I have however spent many days inside nursing homes as a family member and volunteer.
Firstly, ‘Dementia Downunder’(DD) is a positive dementia based forum & environment. The majority of topics and posts are discussion points for positive change and improvements to the way we care for the elderly, as well as providing support for families.
I have left the recent news footage post on the DD Facebook site (refer link below) on this occasion as it is a very ‘public conversation’ that is being beamed across Australia via news services and across the globe via the internet (so is widely viewed regardless). It is important that we remain informed and also have balanced views when it comes to forming opinions and subsequently airing responses. We do not want to display outrage by attacking people, organizations and industries with nasty comments and bullying via social media.
I would hope that we do not become disrespectful to our many wonderful carers and nurses based on this news article/report of an individual case. I see first-hand the challenges faced by carers and nurses across a day and it is simply not easy. Whilst there will always be a minority of people not doing the right thing it is imperative that we value our aged care workers and as family members continue to work together to provide great care outcomes for our loved ones. People with dementia are really vulnerable and may struggle to make the most simple of decisions or perform everyday tasks, and it is these people that we need to ensure are our highest priority.
This recent nursing home incident on the news is extremely traumatic and very confronting. The story is probably not an isolated incident, and the general public will want to express anger, however I am more interested in what we can learn from this situation and what we can do to create culture change?
What I learnt:
• It highlights how vulnerable our senior citizens are when placed in care.
• It illustrates the desperate measures taken by a family to protect their loved ones.
• It shows that some people should not be working in aged care.
• We need to have measures in place to attract the ‘right people’ into aged care both financially and with their working conditions.
• Training is vital and so is monitoring and auditing the systems.
• Are our current models of care based on old information and techniques from decades gone by?
• When we use the overused buzz word ‘person centred’ should it be used if the person is not the single prime focus of the task or environment?
• Do we always consider the person’s feelings and well being when aged care decisions are made?
• Budget cutting ultimately impacts on the person receiving the care.
• Australia needs to lead the way in aged care with our ageing population and be proactive, innovative and do so with a genuine desire to look after our elderly .
It is time for change – and we need to place a priority on our aged community and ensure they live out their lives on their terms and with dignity.