A survey conducted by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety showed that 39 per cent of aged care residents faced some form of abuse (the surveyed group included 391 residents across 67 nursing homes).
One in every 20 residents complained of being roughly treated by the staff, physically restrained, or not being allowed out of their bed, chair, or room.
Although there’s no denying cases of ‘rough handling’ and reports of residents feeling unsafe and being treated like children, shouted at, and ignored… it would be incorrect to paint all resident care homes with the same black brush.
While senior care facilities strive to offer the highest levels of service, overworked and underpaid workers and a lack of skilled staff make it difficult for them to deliver quality care.
With the number of Australians aged 65 and over expected to grow to 8.7 million by 2056 (from the current 4.2 million), aged care facilities have their work cut out for them.
Understaffing and lack of training are being seen as the two biggest reasons for the ‘physical abuse’ and apparent lack of safety in Australia’s senior living resident homes.
One reason for understaffing is cost. The labour costs for aged care facilities are very high as compared to other costs. Financially constrained facilities find it difficult to hire registered nurses, leaving them with underqualified and frequently underpaid workers on their payroll.
In addition, the high-pressure environment of aged care homes and the excessive work demands result in many caregivers quitting to join hospitals and other medical facilities.
The lack of qualified people in rural areas and towns is the other reason why resident care facilities in these areas find it difficult to fill vacant positions.
Coming to training…
The absence of high-quality, standardised training leaves caregivers ill-equipped to deal with residents’ advanced needs.
Until, a few years ago, aged care homes acted as places of independent living rather than places of care, with staff providing housekeeping and basic services like washing, bathing and grooming.
However, the increasing average age of residents calls for greater levels of physical care, mobility assistance, and medical treatment, which most aged care workers are ill-equipped to provide.
Seniors suffering from dementia need to be helped with simple everyday tasks like washing, bathing and cooking. Reminders for medication are important as are to-do list items, appointments and events.
While Government funding can, to an extent, ease the concerns of low pay scales, inadequate staffing, and underqualified caregivers… it might not guarantee that seniors receive help in the shortest possible time.
Though it may appear that aged care facilities are fighting a losing battle…
Technology in the form of multi-functional, an aged care personal alarm like eazense, gives us hope.
eazense, Powered by SOFIHUB, is a passive, real-time falls detection system for the elderly, based on unique radar sensor technology combined. It can reduce caregiver requirements while ensuring that the elderly have aid rushed to them when needed.
eazense does not require the resident to wear or do anything.
Besides fall detection, constantly tracks body position, and alerts caregivers when data points breach thresholds.
It can detect, record, and log activity in a room, from live fall detection to irregular movement without using cameras. This is useful when seniors have left their rooms and not returned, or aren’t in their beds when they are supposed to be.
For aged care facilities that lack the financial resources to hire experienced staff, or for caregivers overburdened with administrative tasks on top of their regular responsibilities…
eazense provides welcome relief.
It reduces the number of unnecessary caregiver visits and allows them to focus on providing care when it is truly needed, resulting in significantly lower healthcare costs.
For the elderly who are battling loneliness, illness, and safety concerns – an aged care personal alarm like eazense restore their dignity by allowing them to live independently and without fear, knowing that they will receive help quickly in an emergency.