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SCC residents in ‘safe hands’

Monday, 22nd July, 2013

Southern Cross Care says staffing and care is strong at its nursing homes. Southern Cross Care says staffing and care is strong at its nursing homes.

By Kurtis J Eichler

Southern Cross Care has reassured families that their loved ones are in safe hands as a critical lack of staff and training in aged care nationwide comes under the microscope.

A report into aged care facilities on Lateline last week found relatives and friends had been shunned when they raised questions about a lack of care in some nursing homes.

ABC reporter Margot O’Neill said industry groups predicted it would become an emerging problem in an “overstressed” system.

Southern Cross Care BH CEO, Allan Carter, said it had a focus on training and set aside 1.5 per cent of wages to giving skills to workers.

“The big thing we find as the biggest advantage for us and the Broken Hill community is the very solid relationship we have with the Broken Hill Hospital,” Mr Carter said.

“We have the palliative care team provide training for our nurses ... so we’ve got it covered pretty well.”

Southern Cross Care employs 230 staff at its three nursing homes in Broken Hill with 120 of those on a permanent contract.

Mr Carter said that was a normal number of staff to provide “good care”.

“One of the great advantages we have is we don’t use agency staff and we have probably 90 per cent of our staff long term and they know the residents and they know our procedures.”

He said this could be different in cities where there is a larger group of short-term employees.

“That sort of stability of staffing is high risk in metropolitan areas.”

Mr Carter was in Sydney last week to gain a better understanding on new aged care legislation.

The new State Government laws means there will no longer be high and low care and issues over who can and cannot pay bond will no longer arise.

He said it was the biggest change since 1997.

One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, says carers looking after her 89-year-old mother at St Anne’s Nursing Home did an “amazing job”.

But she said there could be more staff in high care wards.

“At times they are put under a lot of pressure because it’s a high care facility,” she said.

“In cases of an emergency where a few residents at one time may need instant care, there might not be enough staff.”

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