Aged Care: It’s Personal

Aged care. For some of us, it’s personal right now, for others, it inevitably will be. Whether it be a grandparent, a parent or eventually yourself, the time will come.

As the Royal Commission continues (in Australia), more and more heartbreaking stories come to the surface. Spotlights have been shone on the staff from every aged care facility in the country and many of the things that have transpired have been beyond comprehensible – there’s a feeling that almost every minute of great work done by many dedicated and caring staff has been undone in the eyes of the public where neglect, injury and abuse is at the forefront.

Majority of the staff are not the bad guys. Many are overworked, underpaid and placed in stressful, unsafe environments. Many have been too scared to speak and it’s taken a public enquiry to call them as witnesses for them to do so. Complaints were made to the now-defunct Australian Aged Care Quality Agency who did not take appropriate action. New Quality Standards came into effect on 1st July from the Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission where feedback is now, in some way, at the heart of each Standard, meaning that this is the time that residents, their loved ones and staff should be heard.

Have you ever wanted to give feedback as an employee or consumer? What goes through your head?

– I don’t know how to?

– It’s not significant enough?

– I don’t want to get involved (especially with a governing body)?

– Sending an email is too much effort, I don’t know what to write?

– I’ll wait till the next major survey (then you forget)?

– I’ll mention it to someone?

– I’d love to give some positive feedback, but it all seems like a bit too much effort?

I’m going to guess that is what a lot of people were thinking before the Royal Commission. Today I’m hoping for a more proactive approach.

We need to give residents and staff the tools to provide constant feedback, in-the-moment, not months down the track and certainly not every three years when they (only 10%) are interviewed by auditors.

We cannot afford to allow bad things to become terrible things because of ignorance and mishandling. A culture of continuous improvement must now be the focus because we’ve all learnt that burying our heads in the sand doesn’t work. It’s dangerous, it’s costly and it’s not right.

On the upside, your staff will appreciate the positive feedback and recognition for the great work they do. Innovation and transformation come from ideas, often crazy ideas and you never know what nuggets of goodness will be found amongst the feedback.

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We have to listen now, to make it better for our grandparents, our parents and ourselves in the future. Ask your loved one’s care provider how you can provide feedback (and do it).

Use data to improve, not impute.

One2Ten can help you start gathering meaningful feedback or build on your current program. Ask me how.

Author: Brooke Dalton