Nurses Organisation celebrates International Day of the Older Person

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1 October 2013:

October the 1st is a special day for older people all over the world, and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is joining the celebrations. As well as being a day of celebration, it brings the issues of our ageing population and the care of our elders to centre stage.

NZNO professional nursing adviser, Lorraine Ritchie says, “Older people are valuable citizens. They are volunteers, parents, grandparents, mentors and leaders. They are worthy of respect as our seniors in society and worthy of quality care when it is needed.

“While many aged care facilities are caring well for older people and much effort and innovation goes in to quality care by committed staff, there remain many problems for the sector. The majority of older people in New Zealand are being well cared for, thanks to a dedicated and caring workforce.”

“NZNO has concerns about the adequacy of care for older people in residential care due to several factors. Government under-funding of this sector is common knowledge and there are a significant number of systemic problems in the aged care sector which impact upon consistently high standards of care for our older citizens.”

“There is difficulty recruiting nurses to work in the aged care setting and the wages paid to caregivers are shamefully low. Caregivers are increasingly being expected to take on nursing tasks which can leave them feeling out of their depth and vulnerable and undermine the role of nursing. The excessive work load for caregivers and nurses in aged care is also problematic and adequate, agreed upon staff/patient ratios do not exist,” Ritchie says.

“Our elders are precious taonga, and we have a responsibility to ensure they receive the highest quality care, whether they are in residential aged care or at home. The chronic under-funding of the sector must be addressed before we can truly say we are a society that values its older people.”

 

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