Last week the Morrison Government introduced an $800.00 payment for aged care workers as a thank you. The best description I have heard of this is:
"It is like your mum saying, 'let me kiss is better' when their child has an accident"
Whilst the $800 dollars may seem like a quick boost to workers who have worked in the most difficult of circumstances, it amounts to roughly 77 cents per hour. The payment is split into two components. One this month, and the other in May, which coincides with the Federal election. Call me a cynic, but the timing is questionable. The royal commission into aged care recommended an increase in award wages, the Morrison government has not implemented this recommendation. Consider this, the Aged Care Royal Commission started in 2018, prior to the pandemic, it was already a stressed sector. Mark Sewell, CEO of an aged care and retirement village told the ABC he has never witnessed such scenes in his entire career.
“I’ve never in those 35 years seen this kind of crisis level of exhaustion and work from frontline care staff in a human service,” he said.
Last Friday federal government data showed that on January 27th 389 aged care residents died with COVID -19 compared with the whole of 2021 which 282 residents died with COVID.
Apart from the significant changes to the sector that must be implemented to ensure that residents have the dignity and care they deserve, the sector will need to consider design changes as well. The way we live, work and reside in buildings is now being viewed through a pandemic lens. Schools need air filters, offices are left empty as people work from home, cross ventilation that has always been desirable for passive cooling, could now save you from an airborne virus.
This book fell out of my bookshelf the other day, I found it fortuitous. I have read it and understood it. I will be reading it again in light of new imperatives.
When I watched the Drum on the ABC I was reminded again of the importance of design and the inherent obligation in working with end-users, in aged care this is residents, carers, extended family and owner/operators. There is a parallel in my belief in working with lived experience in all aspects of policy delivery.
It is important we don't simply "push through" COVID we future proof and think ahead and plan. If elected I look forward to working with members in Parliament who are health and care sector professionals to bring our diverse lived experience to policy design.
If you would like to contact me on any aspect of Aged Care please use the link below and use the contact form at the end of the page.