If we want better care in rest homes then we need to improve the employment conditions of rest home staff, says a senior lecturer in management at AUT Business School.
Dr Katherine Ravenswood believes that the employment conditions for care staff are inextricably linked both with profit motives and the quality of care delivered to elderly residents.
Lack of transparency in audits and information available to the public make it difficult for families to choose residential care for their elderly. Families are increasingly concerned with the quality of care and respect given to their elderly relatives, with some beginning to question the role that profit imperatives have on quality of care.
“It has been shown that care staff’s stress levels and workload directly influence the quality of care elderly residents receive,” Dr Ravenswood says.
“We all know well that caregivers generally get paid little more than the minimum wage and that implies a lack of acknowledgement of the importance of the elderly residents and their paid caregivers.”
Dr Ravenswood, who recently completed her PhD at AUT Business School into working conditions in residential aged care, suggests that as a society we need to place more value on caring for our elderly.
"We need to do this not only through raising pay levels, but also through safe work conditions including enough staff on duty to be able to provide the type of care and attention we all want for our elderly relatives."