Nurses warn staff cuts ‘will reduce care’ for elderly residents at Albury home

Wednesday 26th September, 2018

Residents at the Albury and District aged care home on Logan Road will not receive the care they deserve due to staffing cuts, nurses have warned.

NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association organiser Viola Morris met with employees of the Japara Healthcare facility today after learning staff numbers would be reduced by two on day and night shifts.

“Today the nurses found out there were going to be dramatic cuts in staffing including the loss of two assistants in nursing on night shift – they will go from staffing of six, to four, for 90-odd residents,” she said.

“The nurses have already expressed to me they have serious concerns about resident care – they worry that residents will be left and buzzers will go unanswered.

“There’s a dementia unit in the facility and they worry that residents with dementia will be left if there’s a fall in another area of the facility."

One nurse said the staffing ratios were already stretched and what was “short-staffed now is the proposed new roster”.

“We’re getting staff who are injured, on light duties and work cover, and that’s not a coincidence when we work short people are getting injured,” she said.

“(When someone is unavailable for a shift) it doesn’t get filled … we just knuckle down and run basically, we don’t stop. People get left in bed because we don't have the time to get them up.

“This morning there was a resident who had an appointment and had to be ready at 7am – that’s three staff for a transfer, so that’s all your night staff on one resident.

“We’re not allowed to tell the residents when we’re short-staffed but they know – they see us rushing down the hallways, whipping through making bed and not having those couple of minutes to just have a chat.

“How are we going to keep the standards expected of us from our residents, their families, the company and ourselves?” Another nurse said given the recent shortfalls in aged care homes outlined in Four Corners over the past fortnight, the decision to reduce hours was not a good one. “A lot of them (the residents) have watched Four Corners as well – they’re not stupid,” she said.

“Aged care is in crisis and there’s not enough staff to meet the need.

“There should be one nurse to five residents – that means they can do everything for five people.”

A Japara spokeswoman said the company was reviewing the roster at the Albury facility.

“We want to ensure we have the right mix of staff and resources available to meet residents' needs,” she said.

“Our review will include consultation with the people involved over the next few weeks.”

A number of staff gathered for a photo but The Border Mail decided not to publish it, due to concerns about a directive sent to staff not to speak to the media.