A small group of current and former health workers gathered close to the Merimbula boat ramp on Thursday, February 25 calling for changes to the aged care system. The demonstration was planned to time in with the announcement regarding the Royal Commission into Aged Care.
Member of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) Diane Lang said the association had "put in hundreds of ideas and raised issues" and wanted to make sure aged care stayed in the public eye.
In particular the NSWNMA wants to see mandated staff ratios and a skill mix in aged care.
"A lot of nurses walk away from aged care because they don't feel they have the time to provide that social care that a patient needs," Ms Lang said.
"We want to see a skill mix, currently there's a lot of Certificate 4 carers' work and we need to have more skilled nurses. It is time to stand as one and make changes to the aged care system to protect and deliver the best care, that our elderly deserve," Ms Lang said.
Carers and nurses have spoken about having a long list of essential jobs to do, leaving them little time to care for residents' social and mental wellbeing.
"We're not robots; we're the ones left holding their hands when residents are crying. I feel guilty when I have to walk out (at the end of the shift)," one nurse said.
In the final report entitled Care, Dignity and Respect, Royal Commissioners Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs AO made a call for fundamental reform of the aged care system.