The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) believes that the International Day of Older Persons, held each year on 1 October, is an important time to celebrate our elders by making sure they are safe, respected and well cared for.
One crucial way to do this is to address the long-standing challenges facing the Aged Residential Care sector.
NZNO member and health care assistant Judy Tomkinson said she and her colleagues just want to provide the best care possible to the elderly they look after every day. However, she said the Aged Residential Care sector is not adequately funded to support our nurses and health care assistants in caring for our residents and patients with complex health needs.
"With the number of new people we have coming in, we’re rushing and that’s not something we want," said Tomkinson.
NZNO and allied union E tū are campaigning for safe workloads and mandatory safe staffing requirements in Aged Care, and Tomkinson said this is really important.
"We are facing a grave shortage of nurses and carers wanting to work in Aged Care while many are leaving for better wages and conditions in the DHB sector. Government funding needs to be sufficient to deliver pay parity with DHBs to attract and retain nurses into the workforce now and into the future.
"At the end of the day, we just want to provide the best care to our patients. They’re our mothers, fathers, uncles, aunties, and grandparents; they deserve the best. We owe it to them to do that by improving pay and conditions and providing safe staffing levels so they can have the care they deserve," she concluded.
This International Day of Older Persons is a positive way to celebrate and acknowledge the lived experience of older people in our community, especially when they are now requiring more care and support than ever before.