Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 15 August 2015
NEWS 8 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 15 AUGUST 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Aged care staff overwhelmed Seven patients per carer ratio, far beyond capacity NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Ritsa Gray is a Greek Australian carer who has been working with dementia patients for more than 15 years. She is currently responsible for the wellbeing of nine people at Fronditha Care, but some other carers have to attend to up to 24 cases in day groups. Carers struggle to take care of dementia cases to the best of their ability, but the workload is often beyond their capacity, as many patients have reached a state where most functions are gone. “Maintaining connection to our community is paramount at each stage of life.” "The number of elders with dementia is constantly rising and at the moment the ratio is seven patients to one carer at activity groups," she says, whilst noting that the ratio is one-to-five in hospitals. "The ratio needs to be at least one-to-two in order to effectively manage a very old and sick person." The programs at Fronditha Care Community Services aim to maintain the independence of seniors within their own homes. However, when their circumstances require a high level of care or when there is no immediate family to assist, aged residents are moved into a safe environment. Gray is concerned that the pressure resulting from a lack of resources and personnel is affecting the elderly. Meanwhile, it is essential for people in this demanding job to be properly trained to deal not only with the behavioural disorders of Alzheimer's patients, but also abusive families at times, and to maintain a high standard of care and professionalism whilst doing so. "The staff at all of the Fronditha Care facilities are trained in the development of care plans to ensure that needs are identified and goals are met," she says. "Residents and their families are also encouraged to be involved in the caring process. However, some people get frustrated with how demanding taking care of their old parents can be, which might Fronditha Care staff’s priority is to be caring and professional; the carers perform their roles and build strong bonds with the people they serve. Each Fronditha facility provides high care accommodation, a higher level of support including nursing care and other necessary clinical care and allied health services. lead to cruel and insensitive behaviour." As a result, carers have to deal with patients' loneliness, desperation, neglect and cases of abuse, offering companionship and comfort. Residents are encouraged to remain mobile and active, both physically and mentally, through a range of activities such as reading, craft workshops and discussion groups. All facilities have registered Activities include gentle exercise, discussion groups, cooking, games, musical programs and day trips. nurses and personal carers on duty 24 hours a day, and meals are prepared by cooks in on-site kitchens. Cleaning, laundry, hairdressing and additional health services are also provided. "Australian citizens will be lucky to receive proper treatment in the near future, at the rate the government is making cuts on aged care. "Let's not forget that we'll all have to walk in those shoes one day; no one stays young forever." Focus on multicultural communities Violence against migrant women under spotlight Officers appointed to engage with groups on workplace rights The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a program to foster new relationships with international student bodies and multicultural communities. The aim is to ensure migrant workers, overseas workers, international students and employers are aware of their workplace rights and responsibilities. Community Engagement Officers have been appointed to establish meaningful, ongoing relationships and have been trained to ensure they can work sensitively and productively with multicultural groups. "We have been participat- ing in discussion groups, meetings and community events to gain a better understanding of the needs of these communities," says Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James. The community engagement officers are in addition to the agency's specialist overseas worker's team established in July, 2012. They have been working with existing multicultural networks and other government agencies, councils, community legal and migrant resource centres, ethnic community networks and international student organisations to determine how to best assist migrant and international student groups. Ms James says the officers have also been working to establish and develop longterm relationships with leaders within multicultural communities. "By engaging with intermediaries and networks that these communities already use and trust, we hope to increase their awareness about their workplace rights and responsibilities," she says. There has been a significant increase in the number of hits on the languages page of the Fair Work Ombudsman website since the program was initiated. "This would suggest that we're making inroads into these communities, as we educate people more about the role and function of the Fair Work Ombudsman," Ms James says. "Working with these groups is also helping us to improve our inlanguage advice and inform the development of new resources." Visa holders now account for 11 per cent of all requests for assistance received by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Last financial year, the Fair Work Ombudsman recovered $1.6 million in underpaid wages and entitlements for visaholders - up from $1.1 million in 2013-14. In June, the Fair Work Ombudsman joined with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to form Taskforce Cadena to jointly combat the incidence of fraud and exploitation involving foreign workers in Australia. Violence against culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women was under the spotlight when community and business leaders, academics, specialists and other key stakeholders came together at a national roundtable. Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services, Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, spoke at the national roundtable. State and territory minsters whose portfolios include women's safety and related issues also attended to discuss priority areas for action. Minister Morrison said this was the first time a roundtable of this type had been held. "It is vital that we engage in what is such an important conversation," Minister Morrison said. At the national roundtable, Minister Cash also launched a pre-departure information pack to educate women about Australian standards before they move to Australia to be with their partner. A report into the experiences of CALD women was presented at the roundtable. The report, ‘Hearing Her Voice’, summarises the findings of 29 'kitchen table' conversations with women from over 40 ethnic and cultural backgrounds across Australia.
8 August 2015
22 August 2015