Older Australians are missing out on care as a result of aged care worker shortages made worse by COVID-19.
The Australian Aged Care Collaboration, a group of six aged care peak bodies, says the workforce is reaching a crisis point and has called on the federal government to take action.
Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said the current crisis has been worsened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the staffing shortages are nothing new.
"I think its acknowledging there is an urgent need for support of the workforce in aged care," Mr Rooney told AAP.
"Because at the moment, we need more staff, we want them better skilled and qualified and they need to be paid appropriately.
"If we can't do that the ability to meet the needs of older people they care for are constrained."
Mr Rooney said there needs to be both a long term and short term approach.
He conceded the sector needed to grow the workforce considerably in the future to be able to carry the load of an increasing older population.
But the government needed a plan to help the issue right now, he said.
Opening the borders won't solve the problem, and there is no quick fix, Mr Rooney said. A multi-pronged approach is needed.
What the AACC wants:
- Pay a competitive wage
- Incentivise nursing students to work in aged care
- Implement a plan for foreign workers to fill vacancies both long and short term when a local workforce isn't available
- Develop a pathway from high school into working in aged care
- Upskill enrolled nurses to be a registered nurse
Australian Associated Press
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