1492580482214 - Aged care investigation reveals concerns over waiting lists, GP fees and aged-care facilities

Aged care investigation reveals concerns over waiting lists, GP fees and aged-care facilities

Elderly Cantabrians face long waiting lists for treatment, struggle to pay for increasing GP fees and are “appalled” about the conditions in aged-care facilities.

A national investigation by Labour and the Green Party, in conjunction with Grey Power, is revisiting a 2010 review on the state of aged care. 

The 2010 investigation found stories of patients being tied to their beds and doped up on anti-psychotic drugs because overworked and untrained staff had no time to care for them.

It resulted in 14 recommendations, including minimum staffing levels, training for workers and establishing an independent aged-care commission.

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The new investigation revealed many of the recommendations had not been implemented by the Government and issues raised in 2010 were being raised again, the Green Party and Labour said.

​About 60 Grey Power members attended a public meeting at Cashmere Club in Christchurch on Wednesday as part of the investigation. 

One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was “appalled” at the level of care in her recently deceased mother’s rest home.

“It was just a holding bin for the hereafter.”

GPs who visited the facility did not take patients’ health problems seriously, she said.

“I had to throw a tantrum to get my mum admitted to hospital.”

Staff at the facility were “absolutely wonderful” but “stretched to the max” and often could not provide the basics, including helping patients wash and eat.

“So many patients needed help with feeding. There was a staff member trying to feed three people at once. It broke my heart.”

Some people at the meeting complained about increasing GP fees, which meant they often chose not to go as they could not afford it.

Berneice Edmonds said she had been declined a scan her surgeon needed for ankle surgery.

The 83-year-old said she was in pain and could barely walk following recent issues after she had ankle replacement in 2002.

She now faced a wait of 24 weeks for the scan, and then might wait longer to get the surgery, she said.

Green Party senior citizens spokesman Barry Coates said this year’s investigation heard serious concerns about the quality of aged-care facilities and access to home care services across the country. 

Labour health spokesman David Clark said an independent aged-care commissioner was needed to hear patients’ concerns.

Clark and Coates agreed a rating system for aged-care facilities with unannounced independent audits was needed. They also called for better training for entry-level workers.