BIT OF HEART: Avalon resident Alkisti Boreto with Kim Kim.
BIT OF HEART: Avalon resident Alkisti Boreto with Kim Kim.

Nurse believes aged care needs a ‘heart’

A NURSE in the Central Highlands believes the government needs to ensure only people “with the right heart” get involved in caring for the elderly, following reports of neglect towards people within the national aged care system.

Division One Registered Nurse Kim Kim has worked in aged care throughout her entire career and said she was passionate about helping the elderly to live out the rest of their lives to the fullest.

“I fell in love (with aged care) and felt honoured that the people I helped put all their trust in me to get them dressed, give them the right medications and trusted me to give them the best quality of life,” she said.

Mrs Kim said it was too easy to become an aged care worker, which made it easy for the wrong people to become qualified.

“It’s important the right people with the right heart go down that pathway,” she said.

“It’s not like you’re dealing with a computer and can just press delete, you are dealing with someone’s life and you can’t tell them to throw it up if you give them the wrong medication.

“I think it’s too easy to get these qualifications.”

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recently completed an Interim Report which has recognised the neglect of older people within the Australian aged care system.

Commissioners Richard Tracey and Lynelle Briggs’s investigation into Australia’s aged care system led them to describe it as “a shocking tale of neglect”.

The report states the aged care system fails to meet the needs of its older, vulnerable, citizens and does not deliver safe and quality care.

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia Chief Executive Ian Yates said older Australians should be more valued by the wider community.

“It’s not just about loving your grandparents, Australians need to also reach out as a community and support their elderly neighbours and fellow citizens,” Mr Yates said.

“The Commissioners must be commended for the way they have taken on board the many voices and experiences of people using aged care and their families in a system that views aged care as a transaction rather than a relationship or even care; is designed around process rather than good outcomes; and lacks transparency.”

Mrs Kim moved to Emerald in April and has been working with elderly residents from across the region at Avalon Aged Care Facility.

She said, despite reports of neglect across the country, the Emerald facility was how she thought aged care should be.

“It’s not all about dying, it’s about living the end of their lives and having a good journey to death,” Mrs Kim said.

“We always have activities; we have dress up days on Wednesday and get residents involved to.

“Wednesday is their favourite day. We are always dancing, singing and they love that. And now that it’s warmer they are also taken out to the swimming pool.”

The Royal Commission’s Final Report will be handed to the Governor-General in November next year and is expected to set the framework for a complete overhaul of the aged care system.