For a long time now we’ve been raising workers’ concerns over a variety of issues including workload, WHS and management style issues. We finally got some answers to those long-running questions.
Below is a summary of those issues along with your facility manager’s responses:
1) DECT phones are in poor condition and staff don’t have enough DECT phones at work.
"Dect phones are continuously being repaired including replacement of the covers. In the last 6months, 2 new Dect phones have been purchased, 1 Dect phone has been refurbished and 1 Dect phone was recently repaired as a result of intercom buttons that were not working. There have not been any complaints to maintenance or myself for approximately 6 weeks. The damage is often caused by staff not using the phone covers or staff accidentally dropping the phones. I have advised staff regarding the requirement to ensure the phone covers are used at all times for the Dect phones to prevent further damage. We have also had wifi issues causing phone and call bell dropouts. This has recently been investigated and resolved by our ICT department. I encourage staff to continue to report issues with the DECT phones. I have requested the purchase of additional phones in the past and this request and staff concerns have been escalated. I can confirm that I have just had the approval to purchase 3 additional Dect phones and replacement covers."
2) Only one stand up hoist is available for multiple residents in multiple wings. Management keep saying that some are on order but give no timeline for this to occur.
"In response to staff requests and resident needs, additional equipment has been requested in our CAPEX budget including 3 stand-up hoists which have been approved for purchase. There have been 3 steady stand up lifters ordered and according to the company procurement officer, the expected delivery is between 10 days and 4 weeks."
3) Workers state that nepotism has started to form within the facility as they feel that the manager is unapproachable.
"I have an open-door policy and encourage staff to approach me to raise any concerns. My door is only closed when I am conducting a confidential meeting, these meetings are often video conferencing meetings and my attendance is a requirement of my role.
With regards to nepotism, I can confirm there are two employees who are employed at Coroneagh Park who are related to me, these staff were employed at Coroneagh Park prior to my commencement at Coroneagh Park. Both staff have continued to work the same contracted hours, 1 staff works pm shifts and the other works am shifts. These roster and contract arrangements were in place prior to my commencement in my current role as General Manager.
I am concerned staff feel disadvantaged and I will commit to work with our People and Culture team and the Residential Operations Manager to enable staff to express concerns regarding their contract, roster and allocation of additional hours. My intention is always to ensure all staff feel they have fair and equitable employment opportunities as per company policy and processes."
4) When workers raised workload concerns, they were sent statistics on call bells, resident numbers and time in minutes per resident.
"I have completed an analysis of staff workload for each area following being made aware of staff concerns. I am confident that appropriate staffing levels are in place to ensure quality and safe care for residents and as per company roster requirements. The Care Manager or Registered Nurse in-charge after hours is authorised to adjust staffing levels on a needs basis to cater for unexpected changes in resident requirements. At times there are unfilled shifts due to unplanned short notice leave that despite best efforts are unable to be replaced; however, every effort is made to ensure all shifts are covered. I encourage staff to continue to raise concerns with either myself or the Care Manager."
5) Staff are required to attend unit meetings, but when they try to raise any issues in any other department apart from their own, they’ve been told there is to be no complaining, so no one feels comfortable raising anything.
"I would welcome the opportunity to meet with staff to hear their concerns and discuss issues at our scheduled general meetings; however, there has been no attendance by staff since the meetings have resumed this year following no face-to-face meetings being held for a period of time as a result of our COVID-19. I have encouraged staff to offer solutions to problems as well as to raise problems and I was unaware this has made staff uncomfortable to raise issues with me. I will be mindful of this with future staff meetings and discussions."
6) Workers feel that management is more concerned about how Coroneagh Park stands percentage-wise on paper than how staff and residents are feeling or, more importantly, coping. Staff morale is at an all-time low. It’s disappointing that their suggestions on how to improve workload go unheard.
"As the General Manager, a component of my role is to collect and interpret audit results and quality indicator data inline with aged care quality standards and compliance requirements. I felt it was important to share this information to ensure staff are prepared for our pending accreditation visit. In addition, my intention was to celebrate our recent excellent results and achievements with staff relating to our internal clinical care and care plan audit.
Your HR, Nick Adams also said:
"In discussion with Lia, we have agreed for Pam Welsh, who is our Residential Operations Manager to visit Coroneagh Park in person on a regular basis over the coming months to support Lia and staff as needed. Staff will have the opportunity to meet with Pam if they wish. As this is designed to support both Lia and staff, Lia will be involved in any matter raised."
Remember you can approach management in the first instance with any concerns you have within the workplace, but if you feel you are not being heard, let us know so that we can chase matters up for you.