A Kiwi aged-care worker has said conditions are no better here, after an Australian worker described the brutal daily workload she and her colleagues face.
Tahlia Stagg, from Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast, posted about "a day in the life of" an aged-care worker on Facebook recently.
The post included a shocking breakdown of the tasks and stresses she encountered in an average workday.
According to Stagg, her shift begins at 6.30am, leaving her with 90 minutes to get 11 of her 24 residents "washed, dressed and ready" for breakfast at 8am.
"Let's break that down. That's eight minutes and 18 seconds per resident," she explained.
"In eight minutes, I must use a lifter to transfer each resident from their bed to the toilet, from the toilet to the shower, wash them, shave them, dry them, moisturise them, dress them, comb their hair, brush their teeth, apply hearing aids, dress their wounds, transfer them to a wheelchair, tidy their room, make their bed, empty their bin and wheel them to the dining room. Eight minutes!
"Meanwhile, in their bedrooms, the other 13 residents lie waiting for their meal. These residents cannot walk, cannot communicate, cannot feed themselves. They require spoon feeding, can only drink through a straw, and have difficulty swallowing.
"These residents have not yet been touched since the shift began, because the residents with the verbal and physical behaviours take priority. They have not yet been cared for, because in a ward of 24 high-care residents, four nurses can only do so much."
The post has received an outpouring of support, with many thanking the young woman for sharing her experience.
In response to the post, Wellington aged-care worker Marianne Bishop spoke with Newstalk ZB and said conditions were no better in New Zealand.
"It's always rushing to do things and as she says in her post to, while you are trying to do that someone else is ringing their bell and you have to go and answer them and try and see to them as well."
Bishop said eight minutes and 18 seconds was an unreasonable time to fulfil the carer's duties.
"Eight minutes isn't long, I mean I can't do all that myself in eight minutes," she said.
"If you can't get them through the process in eight minutes then you end up spending more time with some people and less time with others – which is what's frustrating."
Bishop felt many people didn't understand how hard the job is.
"Some relatives do, and I think people who have cared for people probably understand it a lot better, but a lot of people don't understand the intricacies of what it's like – and what it's like caring for more than one person.
"If you're working in a facility you could be caring for six to 20 – and trying to meet all their needs at the same time, and trying to do it the best you can with what time you've got."
She said the problem stems from a lack of funding and staff.
"There isn't enough funding in the sector. These employers have to have the money to pay the staff and to run the facilities, and if there isn't enough funding then there isn't enough money," she said.
"It's also not a sexy job. People aren't attracted to it and it's not a job that everyone can do. You have to be very patient, very empathetic and very energetic."
Bishop also encouraged families to complain about their relatives' care.
"They are frustrated just like we are. They need to complain to make things better.
"Elderly deserve more. We would want the same thing if it was our elder in care, and when we are in care," she said.
"But there needs to be more funding in the sector. If the funding isn't there to employ more staff then things aren't going to change."
* Additional reporting by Alexis Carey from news.com.au