Wayne Prosser remembers the day when the closure of his father’s nursing home was announced in the small town of Harden on the Southwest Slopes. New South Wales..
“That was horrible,” he says. “They called the meeting … and said we would close within six weeks.”
Prosser, a lifelong peasant like his father Rusty, says the pain around the nursing home room at St. Lawrence Residential Aged Care quickly spread to the community.
“The staff was crying … my dad’s eyes were vague. He just said …” What are you doing now? “
The non-profit Southern Cross Care decision to close the house in January blinded the town and local councils. “The way they dealt with it … it was just inhumane,” says Prosser.
Relatives of 35 residents were left scrambled to find alternative beds for their loved ones in a hurry, mainly in other towns. The couple, including Rusty, managed to get a bed at a local hospital.
Helen Emmerson, CEO of Southern Cross Care (NSW & ACT), apologized to the community for not fully explaining the reasons behind the sudden announcement. .. “
But she went on to say that many factors led to the decision.
“We didn’t have the option of being responsible and open for the long term,” Emerson said.
“Maintaining the quality, safety and support needed at St. Lawrence due to inadequate funding, staff shortages, occupancy challenges, limited related medical services, and lack of overtime support services such as pharmacies and GP access. It became difficult.
“This was not sustainable in the long run and did not meet strict standard treatments.”
The closure of St. Lawrence highlights the crisis in rural nursing homes, even after the federal government has made viable payments to support the higher costs of providing services in rural and remote areas. More than half of them are still losing money.
These payments increased in March 2019 in response to the pandemic and increased again in March 2020, but geriatric care facilities continue to struggle.
The crisis is expected to worsen as facilities face more regulation, a shortage of long-term care and elderly care workers, and the financial burden of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Stewart Brown quarterly survey of accounting advisory Stewart Brown for 1,200 nursing homes nationwide is the largest financial benchmark available in the elderly care sector. In March 2020, 69% of rural and remote nursing homes lost money. By March 2021, this had dropped to 52%... Nursing homes in the area lost money at 62% and 56%, respectively.
However, while the government’s temporary Covid funding into the elderly care sector boosted the country’s nursing homes, payments were only available in the short term, so the number of nursing homes in unprofitable countries is expected to increase again. Will be done.
Grant Corderoy, senior partner at Stewart Brown, said the study shows that “the feasibility of regional, rural, and remote providers is of great concern.”
Rural health providers are less feasible than facilities in big cities because they have a smaller cohort in terms of the number of residents and staff and are run on a smaller scale, he says.
“The current funding model and the feasibility supplement to remote providers do not cover this additional operational and financial burden, and the challenges of staff acquisition and retention,” says Corduroy. ..
His comments also reflect the Royal Commission’s final report on elderly care, expressing concerns about services in areas, rural and remote areas where older people make up a greater proportion of the population than in major cities. I am.
“The availability of elderly care in rural, rural and remote areas is low and worsening,” he said. Report said..
Approximately 1.4 million people over the age of 65 live in rural, rural and remote areas of Australia. On average, older people in the region have lower incomes, poorer education and health, and an increasing need for support for older people.
The Royal Commission also emphasized that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are not receiving the necessary care for their level of needs, creating barriers to indigenous peoples.
“These result from social and economic disadvantages, lack of culturally safe care, and the continued impact of colonization and long-term discrimination. Access problems are disability, comorbidities, homelessness, It is exacerbated by the additional vulnerabilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people resulting from the high incidence of dementia. “
The government has accepted the Royal Commission’s recommendations that everyone has Equal rights to elderly care However, given the continued closure, it is unclear how such rights will be realized in rural communities.
Accounting firm BDO emphasizes In a research treatise Federal Elderly Care Data did not track where providers, many of which were large corporations operating multiple businesses, were moving government funds, profits, and residents’ refundable deposits. .. Nor was it possible to assess the feasibility of rural or regional nursing homes separately from urban homes.
“The problem started with privatization.”
The end of nursing homes in small towns like Harden has multiple knock-on effects.
Cowra Residential Village, a 90-minute drive from Harden, entered into negotiations to buy St. Lawrence, but failed to secure $ 4 million in federal funding to buy it. The future of the home continues to be a serious concern for the locals, as no other party has raised their hand.
Scott Cable, CEO of Cowra Retirement Village, or the locally known “Billiara,” is open to explaining his challenges. “Rural areas are losing nursing homes,” he says. “We are all struggling. The underlying deficit has been going on for years.”
Like many local providers, Cowra’s facilities are not far enough to qualify for government viability supplements.
“Government funding increased by 1.1% on the CPI, but salaries and wages (the largest single cost) increased by 2.5%, so the cost increase is not offset by 1.1% revenue,” Kable said. Says.
Covid’s cost also exacerbated the pressure. “We spent $ 200,000 to meet Covid’s requirements, of which $ 100,000 were unfunded. The cost was additional cleaning, management staff, stored in a crate at the time of occurrence. It stems from the payment of personal protective equipment and emergency supplies. “
The government responded by offering the Royal Commission an additional base charge of $ 10 a day, but this is for housekeeping and meals only, apart from feasibility supplements.
“It doesn’t help us put extra nurses on the floor,” says Cable. “We didn’t have the money to raise the salaries and wages of elderly care workers.”
Attracting older care workers to Cowra was also a challenge, as hospitals competed for pandemic staff and skilled migration was declining.
The latest government data on the elderly care workforce dates back to 2016, when 53% of housing facilities reported lack of skills and 32% were dependent on foreign-born workers.
The information gap is report According to the Australian Economic Development Commission. The data were not detailed enough to estimate the number of elderly care workers, what role they play, and how the workforce has changed over the years. It is estimated that Australia will require 17,000 elderly care workers each year for 10 years.
Residents like the Prosser family can only expect to ensure the care of the next generation of older people, as rural Australians struggle to maintain their facilities in the community.
Wayne was able to secure a bed in a local hospital for his father, but Rusty’s health deteriorated rapidly shortly after the move. He died a few months later at the age of 90.Resident of his companion Norma Butler also died shortly After moving from St. Lawrence.
Brian Ingram, the mayor of the local Hilltops Council, says he doesn’t have the money or the ability to run a house.
“The problem started long ago with privatization … this is a federal issue.”
“We are all struggling”: Elderly housing in the Australian region is tense to survive.Elderly care
Source link “We are all struggling”: Elderly housing in the Australian region is tense to survive.Elderly care