Residential aged care a Fairfax Media target again – but mixed messages

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The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age ran big double page articles on Sunday centring on “nursing home neglect” by cost-cutting.

On the one hand aged care operators were cast as the villains, “with residents left soaking in soggy pads”.  But on the other hand they reported the NSW Health Services Union is pointing to the Federal Government budget cuts to aged care.

“NSW HSU Secretary Gerard Hayes said the elderly deserved dignity, but $3 billion in federal budget cuts since 2013 had put their care in ‘serious jeopardy’”.

“He said $1.2 billion in cuts in 2016 alone had left the average aged care facility half a million dollars worse off each year”.

In the online version of the story Bupa was criticised for its policy of limiting the number of incontinence pads that can be used to save money. They featured an image of a Bupa memo as though it was a negative but on closer examination it said:

“We are going to hold a training session on incontinence. When using supersonic pads three is the average worldwide. Currently at XXXXXXX we use 7+ a day and we are over budget.”

The HSU is launching a national campaign titled ‘Our Turn to Care’ in Canberra today to urge the Government to restore funding for the sector.

The journalist says this “follows revelations in Fairfax Media about the horrific neglect of elderly people in nursing homes”.

The 135,000 people who work daily in residential aged care know that there is not ‘horrific neglect’ but they also know that more cash in the aged care system is desperately needed to maintain and increase standards. And this can only come from Government and the customers themselves.

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