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Providers told to work with staff through the royal commission


Aged care organisations need to focus on keeping their workforce engaged during the scrutiny of the aged care royal commission, an aged care executive tells Australian Ageing Agenda.

Providers also need to help staff see the positive side of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety despite negative reports in the media, said Kasy Chambers, executive director at New South Wales-based provider Anglicare.

“Don’t paint the royal commission only as negative and don’t be defensive. Talk about it as an opportunity to learn from others, and to have the spotlight of the country on your work area,” Ms Chambers told AAA ahead of her appearance at the Strengthening the Aged Care Workforce conference on Tuesday.

“It is a time for us to think together as a sector about what really great aged care would, could and should look like. These are wonderful conversations to involve staff in and will help us generate lots of new ideas and innovations,” she said.

Kasy Chambers

To help engage staff and manage internal expectations from media pressure and public scrutiny, Ms Chambers said providers needed to acknowledge the work staff undertook.

“It can be draining to maintain the hyper vigilance of the media attention, along with managing the day-to-day. It becomes doubly important to celebrate the day-to-day,” Ms Chambers said.

It is also important for organisations to help staff understand the news from the royal commission, as most staff won’t have time to go through the transcripts, she said.

“A monthly briefing about what is going on, what your organisation does in that space and any changes you are thinking of as a result [of the royal commission] could be useful,” Ms Chambers said.

“It’s important to manage the internal culture because face-to-face workers are the brand ambassadors.”

These are among initiatives Anglicare has implemented to improve morale and keep staff engaged and it has resulted in clarity on the care Anglicare and its staff want to provide to its residents, Ms Chambers said.

“It is a clear mandate for us to talk about the aged care we want, and how to deliver it,” she said.

She said providers need to act now to provide quality care for its residents.

“Prepare, listen and act. Don’t wait for the final report. Older Australians deserve the best care we can give right now,” she said.

The Strengthening the Aged Care Workforce conference takes place at the Sydney Harbour Marriott on 4-5 June.

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3 Responses to Providers told to work with staff through the royal commission

  1. Kellie June 5, 2019 at 6:33 pm #

    Aged care executives need to pay their staff what they are worth and employ more of them. Maybe stop the over casualisation of the workforce and offer some full time and more part time positions so hard working and dedicated staff can have a career and not just scrape by.

    Why do nursing homes which operate 24hrs a day, 7 days a week not have at least some full time PCA’s. I love working in Aged Care but l just can’t survive. There is simply not enough work. Most nursing homes have so many casuals on their books that it reduces the amount of hours staff get when the hours are spread out amongst so many workers.

  2. Caroline June 6, 2019 at 10:38 pm #

    What we need is a stop work, down tools kind of action or ‘go slow’. Despite the Enquiry into Aged Care, I do not anticipate that we’ll see any real change for workers who are primarily women. We need to stop work for a few hours over a period of time to demonstrate that these skills are worthy of a decent pay and that we need fairer treatment by government, employers and society in general. 3 degrees later and 19 years in the care sector with no work stability or job with commensurate reward. It seems I need to find my own way through the maze.

  3. Lynette June 7, 2019 at 7:25 pm #

    Very true.. in fact I hear this all the time from carers….there needs to be an investigation into this area of staff employment

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