Elderly Boroondara residents abandoned by private aged care provider after council exit

Nielsen said she was lucky because she could clean herself if she did a little every day, but she worried about residents who needed help showering and caring for their personal care.

“I’m more likely to come across the vacuum cleaner,” she says. “I can spin it, but I’m a little clumsy with it, so I appreciate having someone else do it for me. I feel sorry for people who are in a more difficult situation than me. ”

Megan Peniston-Bird, 77, has arthritis and her 84-year-old husband has emphysema. The couple received home care from Boroondara Council for 10 years, helping with cleaning.

She also expected someone to provide home care on Tuesday, but no one showed up.

“It’s a complete drag,” she said. “He was absolutely negligent. This is advice who should know better. All of this is supposed to be us living in the community and not costing the government a fortune in being taken care of.

Boroondara’s decision to exist aged care services was met with opposition from many elderly residents at the time, who said they had not been properly consulted and did not want to change their caregiver.


A Boroondara spokesperson said mecwacare had informed the council and the government that it needed six weeks to transition elderly Boroondara residents to its services, and that the council had worked within that time frame.

“Mecwacare never disclosed any concerns about staffing shortages and the possible impact on services to the board before beginning the transition of this Commonwealth Government service,” the spokesperson said. “If there are any service issues, that is the business of the Commonwealth Government as the service owner and mecwacare as the provider.”

Boroondara said she made the switch due to the introduction of the government’s Home Support Scheme, which requires providers to offer specialist services such as occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

A Department of Health and Aged Care spokesperson said that when Boroondara made the decision to no longer provide aged care services, the government undertook a “rigorous process” to select a new provider .

“It is up to both outbound and inbound vendors to manage the organization and staffing requirements involved in the transition,” the spokesperson said. “The department notes that there has been some disruption of services as mecwacare onboard personnel. Mecwacare is actively recruiting additional aged care staff to handle the increased number of clients.

He said it was unfortunate, but disruption could occur due to the competitive environment for staff at the moment.

Australian Services Union secretary Lisa Darmanin said Boroondara’s decision to stop providing home-based aged care services had put the well-being of elderly residents at risk.

“Local councils are trusted and reliable providers of home aged care services and should not abandon vulnerable elderly residents by ending their role in aged care,” she said. “The privatization of home aged care services is not just a political failure, it is a risk for older people who depend on essential home aged care services.”

Darmanin said the privatization of elder care services was a statewide problem.


“ASU is looking at the continuity of aged care services where other councils recently made the mistaken decision to privatize home aged care,” she said. “Every councilor elected to a council still providing home aged care services needs to take a very hard look at what happened in Boroondara and determine if that is what they want. [to happen to] older people in their community.

The Municipal Association of Victoria said 23 councils across the state were ending their aged care services or had already done so.

MAV President David Clark said councils have long been service providers within aged care services.

“As federal reforms to the entire aged care sector continue to be implemented, we continue to call for the reforms to provide the capacity that allows councils to continue as service providers without a burden unfair and to ensure that any change in service does not leave older Victorians worse off, in terms of the service they receive,” he said.

Mecwacare did not respond to requests for comment.

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