“I feel like I’m on death row.”
These are not the words of a prisoner in California’s San Quentin awaiting execution or even death by virus.
They are the plaintiff cry of an elderly “inmate” incarcerated in one of Victoria’s notorious coronavirus-infected aged care/nursing homes.
The despicable treatment of residents in this sector has again publicly been laid bare. We’d all be lying if we said we haven’t known for years that some operators are shonky.
Despite the promissory notes in glossy brochures, some of these mercenary cash cow sheds are little more than battery farms for humans stamped with a use-by date.
We would be forgiven for thinking that the sole reason for aged care homes is to establish a parking lot for geriatrics; to provide mere perfunctory care and services whilst milking as much money from individuals, families, Commonwealth and state governments alike.
Something about it all reminds me of the lyrics of ‘Hotel California’, by the Eagles — they can check out any time they like, but they can never leave. Prisoners of their own device. Prisoners by the device of others. As are we all.
Our loved ones and sadly even unloved ones amongst us have been – and remain – betrayed by a system riddled with instances and allegations of rorts, fraud, corruption, double-dipping, overcharging, the cannibalising of government funds and the misrepresentation of services provided.
Cannibalising of government funds and home care packages
Add to this list the lucrative subsidiary industries, home care service providers, case managers and nurse banks, bloated and outrageous management fees, sometimes buried within other services.
There is blatant gouging of home care packages, the subcontracting out of services to sometimes related subcontractors in a cabalistic gravy chain, each link greedily pocketing a percentage of the available funds.
And this ain’t the half of it. It’s ugly. It’s obscene in its venality.
If you think some nursing homes that allege to be not-for-profit are the good guys, forget it.
Not-for-profits are not the good guys
Every aged care institution and service provider should be compelled to publish online the salaries of all executive and management personnel, along with the fees for all services — everything that residents and home care patients have to pay.
As has been exposed within the banking industry, some residents and families have been paying for bogus services. Everything should be transparent, down to the last cent charged by the institution.
Owners, parent companies, investors, election donations, country of origin, management boards, executive teams, bankers and all affiliates should be cited. Ditto, any outsourcing, staff ratios, including staff onsite and those on call. Permanent staff, casual staff. Let’s have none of the usual excuses for secrecy, the maintaining of “commercial confidence”. The sector has long lost that right. As have our politicians.
On that subject, one family member of a nursing home resident told me that monies will be deducted from his dead parent’s hefty “deposit” after he called to enquire about his parent only to find out, after waiting on the phone for ages and speaking with a corps of obfuscating staff who wouldn’t give their names, that his parent had died of COVID-19.
You are invited to read the article in full on IndependentAustralia.net