Team Message from Acting General Manager

I am reaching out to all of you as I know many of you have been keeping abreast of the outcomes from the Royal Commission into Aged Care. The stories coming out in the media and in the evidence documents are shocking, appalling and heart breaking for many of us who are committed to improving the lives of the people we support and have been deeply upsetting stories to hear. The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation towards People with Disability will provide equally upsetting examples of how broad systems and unscrupulous individuals are contributing to the failure of the sector to appropriately protect the safety and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

The interim report released by the Royal Commission into Aged Care was titled “Neglect” and the title is deliberately jarring to point the finger at how the government system set up to deliver aged care services is contributing to the neglect of the needs of our aging population with unreasonably long waiting times for Home Care Packages as well as insufficient training for staff in a complex sector and was particularly damning of organisations who they labelled as ‘belligerent and arrogant’ in refusing to accept responsibility for their own failings towards their own clients.

The good news is that there IS good news! The Interim Report highlighted that they overwhelmingly found relationships between clients and their service providers and care givers is one of the strengths of the sector and one of the best safeguards there are in our difficult system. Frequent contact, good communication, decisions based on in depth knowledge of people and their circumstances are hailed as key practices in delivering high quality, needs based supports, and the Commission looks set to recommend less focus on ‘tick a box’ compliance and greater focus on strong relationships and quality outcomes for people in future Aged Care Standards.

I am proud to work for an organisation that puts the safety, well-being and satisfaction of our clients first in all of the work that we do. In the face of all of these terrible stories, I see the amazing work you all do every day in genuinely caring for our clients. I hear conversations on the phone where I can imagine that the person on the other end of the line must feel like the most important person in that moment, and see interactions around the office between staff and clients which are respectful, polite and kind. I hear stories from our field staff including Drivers, Direct Support Workers, General Staff and Domestic Support Workers which are told with such passion and warmth it always reminds me what we are here for. We love getting the photos that our field staff in particular send in of the people they are working with that day because again, it is a great reminder for those of us working from an office about why we are here and why we love doing what we do.

If any of you are affected by the news stories coming out about our industry, please do not hesitate to speak to any one of the coordinators or managers at STAR. We believe in you and in the work that you do. Thank you all for the work that you do in your respective roles to make a difference in the lives of the people we support. I believe that the team here at STAR are a shining example of how an organisation can really care for its people, and embodies the saying that “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”.

Kind Regards,
Melissa Bannerman

Acting General Manager