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Healthcare workers are concerned about the patients and residents they care for due to a lack of resources, according to research from Slater and Gordon, conducted by Kantar Australia.

Half of Australian hospital, disability care and aged care workers (49 per cent of 500 surveyed) said they were worried about the patients they look after, due to a lack of staff resources.

More than half or 58 per cent of Australian aged care workers said they were worried about the patients they look after due to the lack of staff resources. With 46 per cent of hospital workers and 49 per cent of disability workers saying the same.

Slater and Gordon Practice Group Leader Andrea Kehoe said COVID had added another element of pressure to an already strained workforce, with less people on the ground due to some workers having to isolate at home.

“COVID has added another element of pressure because some facilities aren’t accepting agency and casual staff for extra support, as they are trying to restrict the number of new staff coming in and out of facilities. With more staff at risk of exposure, having to get tested and isolate until they get test results, means less people working and it puts extra burden and pressure on workers that are there still working.

“There is already a reoccurring theme of a lack of actual people on the ground and older or inferior equipment or a lack of equipment to get the work done.

“Many of the aged care and disability workers we speak to tell us the resourcing issues come from a lack of staff caring for patients, and a lack of proper or updated equipment. For example, residential homes don’t necessarily have hoists in all rooms to lift heavy patients from the bed to a chair to be showered for example.

“There aren’t always enough staff on the ground, to help lift heavy patients or transport them safely from room to room. So this puts pressure on staff who feel like they can’t do enough to provide the level of care that should be provided.

“We acknowledge the Federal Government has announced more masks for aged care and home providers, but it’s also a matter for employers to make sure they’re available to all staff.

“Aged care homes and disability providers in Victoria’s lockdown zones have to act on the new advice from the Federal Government to protect workers and employees. All aged care and disability workers should be wearing protective gear no matter which location they work in.”

State based research:

Half (48 per cent) of Victorian hospital, aged and disability workers said they were worried about the patients they look after due to the lack of staff resources.

More than half (52 per cent) of NSW workers said the same, while 47 per cent of Queensland workers agreed and 46 per cent said of WA workers said they were worried too.

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