Too many one-offs

Whenever a negative story is reported about aged care, peak bodies representing the providers claim this negative story is a “one-off incident”. John Kelly’s response to my recent opinion piece is one such example (Letters, 5/6). The federal government’s recent Future of Australia’s aged care sector workforce (2016) received 73 submissions from staff and relatives who are extremely concerned about standards of care in aged care homes. It is clear from these submissions that many aged care homes employ an inadequate number of staff. In some instances, there is only one registered nurse on duty in an aged care home with 150 or more residents. In some cases, relatives feed, shower and dress residents because staff are too busy. When the call bell is used to get assistance to walk a resident to the toilet, no staff may be available. How many “one-off incidents” are required to indicate systemic failure?

Sarah Russell, Northcote

Time to listen

The arrogance of the letter by John Kelly (CEO, Aged and Community Services Australia) is symptomatic of much that is seriously wrong with the aged care sector.  Residents are starting to be heard – and what they say about standards in many so-called “care” premises is deeply unsettling. Australia may be a good place in which to to get sick – can it be said that it’s a good place to get old?

John Simpson, Melbourne