The recent 4 Corners investigation into the atrocities within the aged care sector was brutal.
Footage depicting some of the most frail and vulnerable citizens within the country being manhandled, neglected and abused, had an effect that has scarred the image of aged care in Australia.
As disturbing as the footage was, it was highly important for the Australian public to understand the depths of despair that some of our elderly go through.
Even though these types of incidents are definitely not typical, in 2018, it actually takes this level of atrocity in order to pierce the consciousness of the masses and get people to stand up and take notice.
Sadly, there are unwanted casualties with incidents of this magnitude, and the people who are bearing the brunt of the outrage are the vast majority of aged care workers who dedicate their life to the wellbeing of the elderly.
It takes a special type of person to devote their entire career to the wellbeing of others, especially when you consider the level of hardship and backlash that they must endure.
And when you combine that with the expectations of families and inappropriate levels of pay that most aged care workers are currently receiving, it’s not hard to see why the sector has issues with recruitment.
It goes without saying, those who choose to work in aged care are deservant of both our praise and respect, but unfortunately this is not what a lot of aged care workers are experiencing, and it’s beginning to take its toll.
Hellocare was contacted this week by an aged care worker who wished to remain anonymous, but also felt the need to reach out and address the negative impact that aged care horror stories are having on employees.
“Some of my colleagues say they don’t admit to being a nurse anymore as they are immediately looked down on.
“I know and feel myself that I am hesitant to tell people that I’m an aged care nurse these days.
“It has gotten to the point where I don’t go shopping on the way home from work and will go and change rather than have people make comments that are often quite derogatory.
“A lot of Aged Care sites seem to pick up on the negative stories, which is soul destroying for the majority of nurses who really do the hard yards because they care so much.
“I just wish that sites like yours and others would also put out, the great things that nurses do.
“We love our elderly, and a bit of us dies each time one of them passes away. Often, we are there more than the families who complain,” this person said.
Believe it or not, the topic of balance and the need for positive news stories are things that aged care news providers like us talk about on a daily basis.
It may seem like there is nothing but horror stories and negativity coming out of aged care, but the fact of the matter is that there are numerous positive articles being published about aged care every week, but very few people read them.
Statistically we see readers engage with negative articles almost 5 times more than they do with positive articles. Which speaks to the current day climate of sensationalism, fear and outrage.
While outrage towards horrible things in aged care is needed in order to showcase problems and encourage improvement and change in the sector, it shouldn’t come at the emotional cost of those who dedicate their lives to caring for the elderly.
This backlash currently being experienced by aged care workers is a byproduct of the inadequacy of the current aged care system and a lack of knowledge from the general public regarding what is happening.
While horror stories grab headlines, they are rare occurrences that actually detract from the issues of loneliness and depression that plague the elderly people of this country.
This is something that most people remain blissfully unaware of, and are actually capable of helping to fix.
It is the responsibility of those with knowledge surrounding these issues to inform, share and spread this information as much as possible in order to give the public a realistic expectation of what aged care currently is, and the actual capabilities that employees currently have.
Our anonymous aged care worker, also echoed these sentiments.
“It’s getting worse as families want more and more. Then there is the hierarchy who just tell you to “work smarter and not harder” as they reduce staffing. Aged care needs looking into immediately,” this person said.
Here at HelloCare we do our very best to try and publish balanced and informative content, and we are well aware of the responsibility that we have in portraying the industry.
We commend and support everyone who shares in the responsibility of caring for the elderly, and thank you for your underappreciated commitment to care.
We will continue to cover both the good and bad stories from within the aged care industry, but we encourage you to seek out and share as much positive and informative aged care content as you possibly can.
Because the more that people begin to understand some of the circumstances that aged care workers are actually facing, the quicker they will realise the amazing work that they are doing.