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Australia: Aged care workers should be registered like hospital nurses- union by Idowu Olabode : July 27, 2016, 12:51:34 PM
Aged care workers need to be regulated under the same system as hospital nurses to better protect vulnerable patients, a nurses' union has said in the wake of a shocking abuse case in South Australia.

The regulatory proposal came after the ABC's 7.30 program earlier this week aired footage of a carer at an Adelaide nursing home appearing to try and suffocate an 89-year-old man in his bed.

The bed-ridden man had end-stage dementia and was unable to walk or talk.

The vision was secretly filmed by the victim's daughter who had suspicions he was being abused.

The worker, Corey Lucas, was convicted of aggravated assault.

South Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation's Elizabeth Dabars said regulation and licensing of aged care workers was needed to protect vulnerable patients.

"At the moment enrolled nurses and registered nurses are certainly regulated or registered through the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency," she said.

"We believe, and we have been lobbying for many years now, that care workers should also be regulated through the same system."

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon on Tuesday warned proposed funding cuts to the aged care sector would almost certainly lead to an increase in reports of elder abuse.

He said families should have the right to have security cameras in the rooms of relatives in aged care to protect them.

Senator Xenophon said the woman who installed the camera was threatened with potential legal action over the installation of the cameras, proving the inadequacy of current laws.

He said there needed to be a Senate inquiry to investigate the issue of elder abuse and the impact federal funding cuts will have on the quality of care.

"There must be an urgent Senate inquiry into the whole issue of aged care funding instruments and also the whole issue of elder abuse because it seems that there aren't adequate legal protections in place."

Families should raise concerns with service
Aged Care Complaints Commissioner Rae Lamb said allegations of abuse against residents of aged care made up a very small percentage of complaints filed each year.

Commissioner Rae Lamb said of the 10,000 issues raised last year, about 200 concerned allegations of abuse.

"About 2 per cent last year related to allegations or concerns about some form of abuse and that might range from financial or psychological through to concerns around physical abuse, rough handling, those sorts of things," Ms Lamb said.

Ms Lamb said families should always raise concerns with the nursing home first and then lodge a formal complaint if things were not addressed.

"The most important central issue here is if they have concerns, rather than worrying about investigating themselves or trying to gather evidence, it's much more important for them to act quickly in raising those concerns," she said.

Source : ABC News

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