A woman claims elderly people are missing out on meals and sometimes getting medicines late.
A woman claims elderly people are missing out on meals and sometimes getting medicines late. Bev Lacey

Aged care nurse shortage a matter of 'life or death'

"THIS is a life or death situation."

Those are the words of a Bundaberg woman who says residents of Blue Care aged care facilities are already missing out because of nurses who physically cannot fit everything that needs doing into their shifts.

The woman's concerns come as Blue Care prepares to remove 11 full-time equivalent positions from its three Bundaberg facilities.

"The nurses are already stretched enough as it is, what happens when they cut them down even more?," she said.

"It's already starting to have an impact, you can see everyone is worried for their jobs and all the families are worried.

"A lot of (residents) don't have someone to stick up for them and help them."

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she feared the worst as Blue Care prepared to put personal carers through training in order to take over from nurses.

"These people are trying to put them through short courses that could potentially kill or injure someone because they haven't done it the right way and how are they going to feel if that happens?" she said.

"They're intending on cutting staff back and they're going to make all the lower staff do medication rounds and everything.

"Blue Care needs to realise the people they're trying to put on are not fully trained properly."

The woman, who has an elderly relative with Blue Care, said the organisation needed to add more nurses, not cut them.

"I've seen people missing out on being fed because of (nurses being too busy)," she said.

Medications, she said, are sometimes received late.

"There are people who potentially unable to do anything themselves," the woman said.

"The thing people don't realise is it's not the nurses' fault.

"Be patient with the nurses, realise all-in-all they've been doing the best they can."

She said with nursing staff stretched to the limit, they were doing their best and anyone with complaints should direct them to head office.

"I don't think Blue Care realises what they're doing," the woman said.

"Does someone have to be injured or die for them to realise this is the worst mistake they could do?"

A spokesperson for Blue Care denied that people were not receiving meals or that medications were sometimes being delayed.

"It's simply not true to claim elderly people are not receiving meals or medications," they said.

"We recognise our employees are an integral part of the Blue Care team and we continually work to find ways to support our employees to provide the best quality care for our residents."

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