Aged care has become a “commodity” and just an avenue for people to make money, the aged care royal commission has heard.
Kaye Warrener, whose husband Les is provided with home care, has also told the commission of frustrations over the long delays in receiving promised assistance.
Her husband was assessed as eligible for a level three home care package in November 2017.
He was initially told it would take 12 to 18 months to become available, was subsequently told it may be available in three months, but is still waiting.
Ms Warrener said she had been unable to get any explanation for the reason for the long delay.
“Aged care has become a commodity for people to make money on,” she said.
“I’m not saying everyone. But we’re getting so many new businesses popping up.
“The government said we’re going to have these packages, which is a great idea.
“But people have thought, ‘great, new business, I’m going to have a bit of this’.”
Ms Warrener said her experiences with aged care had left her with “fearful thoughts” of what lay ahead for both herself and her husband.
“We’re strongly trying to prevent going into a home,” she said.
Another recipient of home care, Margot Harker from Canberra, told the commission of the issues she has with home support, including times when promised carers simply failed to turn up.
She said neither of the two packages she currently received provided enough support for her needs and carers were always under pressure to leave on time.
Dr Harker said it was clear aged care was not funded adequately and there was a perception in the community that those receiving care did not deserve it, that it was “icing on the cake”.
“There is no sense of us having served our community or nation during our working life,” she said.
In earlier evidence to the inquiry on Thursday, Health Services Union president Gerard Hayes painted a grim picture of care across the country with overworked and underpaid staff, a lack of funding and a lack of resources.
He said the commission would hear some “staggering stories” and the situation would only get worse in the future as demand grows.
“There’s a tsunami off the coast and it’s coming in,” he said.
“In the next 10 to 15 years, we have got a major issue ahead of us.”
He said staffing shortages were a major issue, impacting directly on residents, citing an example of people being forced to soil their beds as one staff member did their best to look after 25 or more patients.
“We need to make sure that if people are in a position like that, they can actually be assisted because that’s what aged care, and that second word care, is supposed to be all about,” Mr Hayes said.
“It’s not the aged indignity network. But this is the thing that people are suffering every day at a whole range of different levels.”