Aged care newsletter

Posted on
March 30, 2021
Aged Care Sector

Your sector update.

The results from the Aged Royal Commission have been tabled and now workers and unions are pushing the government to urgently implement them.

70% of public submissions to the commission cited staffing as a concern so HACSU is demanding that aged care services have the right number of staff with the right skill mix to deliver holistic care for older Australians.

The government has failed aged care for decades, and just acknowledging the problems isn't enough. Aged care workers and residents deserve better and now is the time for the Morrison Government to implement findings in full and fund aged care appropriately.

HACSU members in aged care have fought proudly and fiercely for change through making submissions to the Royal Commission and by emailing, phoning and meeting politicians, doing interviews for radio, TV and newspapers, participating in roundtable discussions and more.

We won't stop until we see real change in aged care!

Join our campaign to change aged care. By getting involved, you can help win desperately-needed improvements for aged care.


Do you believe the residents you care for aren't receiving the care they deserve?

Short staffing has become rife in the aged care sector and all too often we hear that aged care workers are working short-staffed and can't provide the care that residents should be receiving.

When working short-staffed workers will complete incident forms or speak to management but, in some cases, nothing improves.

If you believe your talks with management are falling on deaf ears you can lodge your complaint online with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) or call 1800 951 822.

You have options as to how your complaint is lodged.

•  Open complaints: If you submit an open complaint, ACQSC will know your identity and may pass your details on to your employer. You'll be kept informed about the progress of your complaint and you will have review rights.

•  Anonymous complaints: If you submit an anonymous complaint, no-one will know your identity and this may limit what ACQSC can do to help resolve your concern. ACQSC won't be able to keep you informed about the progress of your complaint. You won't be able to provide more information to them and you won't have review rights.

•  Confidential complaints: If you submit a confidential complaint, ACQSC will know your identity and will endeavour not to disclose your identity to your employer. ACQSC will keep you informed about the progress of your complaint and you'll be able to provide more information and you may have review rights.

You can make complaints about care, catering, financial matters, hygiene, equipment, security, activities, choice, comfort and safety or other matters related to the responsibilities of the service provider.

If you know that something is wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up. Change will only happen when we make our voices heard.


Conversion from casual to permanent work

Many casual workers in the aged care sector have been casual employees at the same workplace for years on end, often even working regular rostered hours for most of that time.

Some people may enjoy the benefits of being casual – like the higher pay rate and the choice of declining shifts when you want to – but many would prefer the job security, sick pay and annual leave granted to permanent employees.

Some agreements and awards offer casual employees the opportunity to convert to permanent contracts. Generally, to convert you’d need to work regular shifts and have done so in the same job for a certain period of time without the hours being the result of backfilling for another employee on leave.

Even if there’s no conversion option spelled out in the agreement, if you’ve worked in the same place doing the same job for several years, it’s still worth having a conversation about the possibility of converting to permanent work. After all, if you never ask then you never know.

If you’d like to know more about what options might be available to you or a friend, feel free to contact HACSUassist.


Aged care can be thirsty work

Due to a request from the infection control audit by the Aged Care Commission, several facilities along the north west have removed the water coolers located around their facilities sparking concerns that staff may become dehydrated during their shift as some managers asked staff to not keep water bottles on them or lying around near them.

HACSU reminded these facilities that since they constantly tell staff to encourage residents to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, they should give the same encouragement to staff too.

Management across the board said that they are happy for staff to have their own drink bottles as long as they are labelled.

Staff have also been told that they can leave their bottles at certain nurses stations around the facility so that they can access them when needed.

Just remember, no issue is too big or small for us to raise on behalf of our members. Sometimes it’s the small things, like being able to access a glass of water, that make areal difference and help you get through the day.  


Glenara Lakes staff have had enough

Workers at Glenara Lakes, a Southern Cross Care facility in Launceston, took unprecedented action and passed a motion of no confidence in the management team over the running of the facility.

For a long time Glenara Lakes staff have been concerned with:

•  Management deliberately not filling shifts when staff are on leave

•  Unmanageable workloads

•  The amount of vacant shifts that appear regularly on the roster

•  Issues of casual conversion

•  Management refusing staff applications of annual leave

•  Serious misconduct issue from the facility manager

•  Staff with very little experience being left in the dementia wing on their own

•  Lack of handover

•  Leisure and lifestyle issues

•  Ongoing issues with a camera in a resident’s room

Following on from the HACSU letter of complaint to the CEO, SCC have stood down the facility manager and launched an external investigation process into the allegations HACSU raised.

SCC have:

•  Agreed to a HACSU request and have held a meeting with HACSU and our workplace delegates to come up with a plan to work through the current issues

•  Committed to working with staff at Glenara Lakes to ensure continued quality outcomes for staff and residents

•  Agreed to review the handover process to ensure there is a comprehensive handover process that includes ECAs

•  Agreed to implement a casual conversion process followed by an EOI process to solve the vacant ECA and nursing shifts

•  Agreed to review the legalities of the camera that is in the resident’s room

•  Reviewed all leave application requests

Congratulations to everyone for standing up and saying enough is enough.

If you or any of your colleagues are concerned about work-related issues and want to be part of the solution, now is the time to contact us and get protected by HACSU.

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email or complete our online contact form

Aged Care Sector