A home care recipient has recounted how he was sent a stream of different home care workers during his time with a provider, some of whom turned up to his house “dressed like party girls” and had no idea what to do when they arrived.
Josef Rack received services as part of a level 2 home care package from Southern Cross Care SA and NT between 2010 and 2017. The provider says it is investigating Mr Rack’s claims.
According to transcripts from a Royal Commission hearing into home care earlier this year, Mr Rack said he had “lost count” of the number of workers who came to his house over seven years.
Many arrived without any tags or identification, he told the hearing on March 19.
“They just arrived up at the given time and when I opened the door, there was another strange person there,” he said.
When he asked who they were, he said they told him they were from Southern Cross.
“But no other identification or uniform or anything like that, for any of them.”
A constant change of workers
Mr Rack said he was faced with a constantly changing stream of workers.
“They did not know what to do in the house. Some of them came in dressed like party girls, as if they (were going) for a party but no idea of what to do in the house,” he said.
He also said he was unhappy with the work done for him and some jobs were just “missed or they were done in a low grade fashion”.
When he complained to Southern Cross, he said the reaction was , “We can’t provide constant services. The people are getting sick. People are having accidents and all so we cannot provide you a constant service.”
Mr Rack said he later changed from Southern Cross to another provider because of the high administration fees, which amounted to 50 per cent of his home care package funding.
Home care provider responds
Southern Cross SA and NT group manager for connected living community home support services Caroline Ford, who gave evidence later in the day, said the organisation always aimed to provide consistency of home support workers.
“That’s our aim, hand on heart,” she said according to the transcripts. “But nobody owns a worker, you can’t own them because they do get sick, they go on leave, they have babies, they study, they move, they are quite a transient population.”
She said 83 per cent of Mr Rack’s workers were continuous, which was “not too bad”, but he had a large number “20, or was it 25” of different workers that came to his home.
“Going forward, I wouldn’t like to see this number of different workers for anybody because that is our aim,” she said.
‘Shocked by evidence’
She told the Commission she was “shocked” that someone had turned up in party gear and the matter would be investigated.
She also said staff are provided with an overview of what they are meant to provide before they arrive in the form of a schedule of service.
“They should be eyeballing that, scanning through it, reading it and clarifying anything, but they also ask, ‘Is there anything else you want done today?’ That’s a standard question.”
But she said Mr Rack was very “house proud and particular” and his schedule may not have provided enough detail.
The Royal Commission resumes hearings later this month in Broome. The Broome hearings, scheduled for June 17-19, will focus on care in remote areas, the unique care needs of Indigenous Australians and issues of access and inclusion.
They will be followed by hearings looking at person-centred care and advance care planning in Perth form June 24-28 and then hearings in Darwin and Cairns over July.