Major Aged Care Reforms in 2024: What to expect
Subscribe
Article

In Their Own Words: Workers’ Views on the Rising Demands of Aged Care

6/09/22
Resources

The latest Aged Care Workforce Report by CompliSpace reveals that over half of residential aged care workers say that key government reforms are impossible to meet.

ACWR Cover Image BLUE (LP & Email)

We summarised the data from the report in our previous article. But we also received a lot of comments from workers. These comments provide insights, personal perspectives and suggestions on what can be done, so we’ve collected some here in this article.

Here’s what workers have to say about the rising demands of aged care.

 

About the Report

Impossible Task: Workers’ Views on the Rising Demands of Aged Care is the third of CompliSpace’s annual aged care workforce reports. This year’s report is based on a national survey of 1,110 aged care workers representing more than 300 services (or approximately 11% of the 2,704 services operating in Australia as at 30 June 2021).

The survey aimed to better understand the challenges and needs of Australian aged care workers in relation to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Royal Commission), Aged Care Quality Standards, COVID-19, wages and law reforms.

 

Key Findings

Impossible Task: Workers’ Views on Mandated 215 Minutes Care Time

Picture1-Aug-23-2022-04-08-33-46-AMRegarding the Royal Commission’s recommendation of a mandatory 215 minutes of care time per resident per day, workers across the board found this unrealistic:

“We have no time to provide the care now without adding more requirements.”

“There is no way in the real world for us to give any one resident that amount of time, let alone have enough staff available.”

“We can't get sufficient staff as it stands.”

“We need better pay and staff ratios. Our elderly deserve care and should be treated with dignity and have time spent on them.”

 

Mass Exodus: 50% of Staff Plan to Leave Within Next Three Years

Many workers felt that they were being forced out of an industry that they were reluctant to leave:

“People leave aged care for better opportunities and benefits in other organisations.”

“Stress is the number one reason.”

“My passion is working in aged care, but if the staff shortage continues, I am not staying.”

 

New Staff Are Unprepared

A common theme among comments was the need for better training of staff:

“The turnover for staff is ridiculous. New staff do not want to work under the conditions we put up with.”

“Staff can only do what they can, not what is needed. This is stressful, as is the amount of overtime requirements and that is often unpaid.”

“Don’t let people work in aged care without AIN certification and 12 months training.”

“We need better training for new staff.”

 

Significant Gaps in Management

Regarding the gaps in management, comments were mixed. Some commented on the need for better management, while others focused on the lack of opportunities for management positions:

“There is little in the way of promotion for Allied Health.”

 “We need better opportunities.”

 “We are short-staffed, residents’ requirements are very high and management don't know how to manage.”

 

Increased Workloads Due to Increased Regulation

Picture2-Aug-23-2022-04-10-26-21-AM

When asked about increased workloads due to increased regulation around COVID-19 and the introduction of the Aged Care Quality Standards, workers were particularly critical of these additional requirements:

“I spend most of the day trying to find staff and the rest on compliance.”

“The NDIS and Aged Care Standards need aligning so that we only have one accreditation system.”

“It is very hard with the new guidelines because some of the excessive paperwork results in less time spent with residents.”

“Paperwork seems to be more important than the residents.”

 

Adoption of New Technology

Regarding workers’ experiences in using new technologies, most comments noted some benefit:

“It allows staff and residents to feel safe.”

“There has been no change to quality but an improvement in efficiency as staff were not required to stand and monitor everyone at the front door.”

“It provided quick access to information on the Quality Standards but didn’t affect my workload much.”

 

Scepticism About Reform

Workers were generally sceptical about the value of the Australian Government’s reforms in response to the Royal Commission:

“We need real reform that includes funding from consumers and the Government.”

“There is a care system in place that does not meet requirements.”

“It will be good to see if the new government will help aged care and workers as they promised – it certainly needs it.”

“The Commission needs to visit homes and see whether the number of feet on the floor matches what the roster says and impose sanctions if they don't match.”

 

Wages Gap

Picture3-2

When asked about the wages gap, workers agreed that an appropriate pay rise was needed:

“Increasing staff and increasing wages will encourage people to continue working in aged care.”

“Remuneration needs to be looked into for the welfare of staff or employees.”

“No one is in it for the money – this is one of the lowest paid industries there is, combined with huge responsibility and compliance/reporting requirements.”

“Any increase in wages must be combined with an increase in funding, or the people that will ultimately suffer are the residents, as staff numbers will inevitably fall to compensate for increased wages.”

 

Conclusion

To sum up the challenges that aged care workers face on a day-to-day basis, one worker says:

“The vast majority of aged care staff are doing an impossible job without the appropriate level of resourcing (staffing and pay levels) to get the job done safely, satisfactorily and to the level of excellence that they or residents would want and society expects.”

 Put simply, another worker says:

“This industry is in crisis, and something needs to be done about it as a priority.”

 

Request Your Copy

CompliSpace’s Aged Care Workforce Report, Impossible Task: Workers' Views on the Rising Demands of Aged Care, is now available for download. To see the Report’s full findings, visit complispace.com.au/workforce-report-2022.

 

New call-to-action

Share this
About the Author

Elita Bird

Elita is a Legal Content Associate at Ideagen CompliSpace. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree.

Resources you may like

Article
The ACE Wrap 12 April

Aged care news highlights from the fortnight ending 12 April 2024, aggregated by Ideagen.

Read More
Article
New Aged Care Act Could Be Delayed – An Update for Providers April 2024

The Government has suggested that it will delay the start of the new Aged Care Act. What does this...

Read More
Article
The ACE Wrap 29 March

Aged care news highlights from the fortnight ending 29 March 2024, aggregated by Ideagen.

Read More

simplify the way you meet your obligations, get in touch today.

Contact Us