Stress levels push staff from Japara
A CURRENT nursing staff member of a Sunshine Coast aged care facility has spoken out against the company with allegations that residents are being neglected due to cost-cutting measures.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of the impact on her employment, she said staff cuts at the Japara Noosa Aged Care Home in Tewantin meant employees and residents were suffering.
Another woman, Yana Vonta has recently come forward with the story of her mother, Draga Holzl, who suffered alleged neglect and a series of falls at the centre before her death in 2016.
In her last serious fall, Draga suffered a cut to the head, bruising and a fractured eye socket with the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner finding she had not received care appropriate to her needs.
Japara state general manager Russell Sciberras said many of Yana’s concerns about her mother related to Profke Aged Care, which owned the home until December 2015.
The employee said staff ratios at the centre meant staff were working “extra hard” and longer than they should.
“The stress levels are extremely high with all the staff,” she said. “You have staff doing double shifts all the time. “The morale is just so low at the moment and we just feel like there’s nobody there to support us.”
Despite the conditions, she said many of the staff were there because they wanted to help people.
“You love what you do, you love caring for them and you want to make a difference.”
In response to employee concerns, Mr Sciberras strongly denied the claims. He said 68 staff had been employed over the past 12 months including registered and enrolled nurses.
“Japara Healthcare is enormously proud of the investment we have made in staffing and facilities over the last three years to ensure that residents of Noosa Japara enjoy a top-quality living environment and the highest standards of care.
“The quality of the care we provide at Japara Noosa has been independently verified by the Federal Government. The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency has assessed Noosa Japara against the 44 mandatory aged care standards and awarded it the highest three-year accreditation.”
The nursing staff member took issue with Mr Sciberras’ assertion and said three other women were on leave due to the stress of the job.
A former staff member, also speaking anonymously, mirrored the claims and said when Japara took over the centre in 2015, nursing staff were severely cut back leading to “really bad” patient ratios.
“I would probably say the lack of staff and the neglect is pretty bad. You’ll have people sitting in their dirty pads for hours.
“Probably the worst thing I’ve seen is the way nurses – because they’re so busy – have to roughly shower and dress people to get their work done.”
But, on special occasions the residents are glammed up so their families are none the wiser.
“A lot of the families are kind of oblivious,” the former worker said.