An open letter to the Minister for Aged Care
Philippa Wright wrote this letter to Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck.
I’m writing with great concern about the lockdown at aged care facilities. I understand why this is being done, but I feel the whole process hasn’t been well thought through.
My father-in-law is in a nursing home, he’s 94, has some dementia and is deaf. He normally has his son, who’s retired, visit three times a week. His daughter visited on Sundays and would take him out for lunch.
Now he and thousands of other old people are stuck in these homes with no visitors, no stimulation and no one who loves and cares for them around them. This is appalling. The staff are run off their feet and don’t have time to do anything but basic care and now my father-in-law can’t feed himself, I seriously wonder how much food he’s actually getting.
He has a big appetite and when he was feeding himself, he was eating very well. When the staff have to feed several people, it’s a feed-them-as-quickly-as possible attitude and move on to the next one, which isn’t their fault, it’s a staffing issue.
I feel that maybe a family member could visit once a week to check on their loved one and give them some care and stimulation so they don’t deteriorate over the next six months whilst this lockdown is happening.
They could have their temperature taken and be asked some questions prior to coming in to visit. I realise that’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than what’s happening now. Another thing that could be done is a Skype call to the family once a week so the aged person still sees their family.
My father-in-law wouldn’t understand why no one is visiting him. I am a nurse myself so I have a good understanding of all these issues and I would like to see something done about it before it’s too late. It’s cruel to deny these oldies contact with their families. Please look again at this issue.