A message to the Lyndoch Living board from the front line

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Staff shortages last week across Lake Lodge and the Audrey Prider Centre at Lyndoch Living.

Carol Altmann – The Terrier

Tonight, a message to the Lyndoch board from the front line: help.

This entire Lyndoch campaign by The Terrier has had one simple motivation, which is to expect the best of care for our elderly and vulnerable residents.

That must be the priority.

But Lyndoch is drowning.

I have written so much about this, I have shown you so many photographs of the shift shortages, like the one above, and now we are in uncharted territory.

Because Lyndoch, for the first time and unlike any other nursing home in Warrnambool, is facing sanctions unless it gets its act together after failing care standards set by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

And it’s facing this battle while suffering acute staff shortages and losing more senior staff in one sweep than, I would argue, at any time in its 60 year history.

In the past four weeks the Director of Nursing has gone. The head of May Noonan Hostel in Terang has gone.

At least one nurse unit manager has resigned.

And another two, experienced senior staff last week joined the growing list of those taking extended sick or stress leave. There will be more.

Between them, these individuals have decades of nursing experience that is not easily replaced.

Some Registered Nurses are working double shifts, with the second shift overnight when they are the only RN in the entire Lyndoch complex.

They are tired.

Other care staff are “top and tailing” – starting their shifts two hours early, or finishing two to three hours late, just to help cover the gaps.

Everybody I have contact with is exhausted or upset, but they keep pressing on because they care deeply for the residents.

I could write reams, based on the cries for help that come in each week from Lyndoch staff.

But instead I will convey the message of just one person who summed it all up.

This person has never contacted The Terrier before, but they are someone you need to hear, and we recently spoke for an hour.

They could no longer stay silent, they said, after reading that highly experienced SWHC nurse Kate Sloan had her membership application rejected by the board.

This, they said, proved the board was not listening.

It was not listening to the care staff who have been trying to hold it all together in the hope of change.

Staff have tried to raise their concerns, but if they speak up publicly, comment on this page, or approach the board directly, they are disciplined. (Test: see how many Lyndoch nursing staff comment on this post.)

Lyndoch staff surveys have come and gone.

Secret meetings between Lyndoch staff and local MPs have come and gone.

Senior staff have raised warnings in exit interviews and, in some cases, been brutally direct about an individual who cannot be named for legal reasons.

And little changes, other than staff continue to leave, the deck chairs are shuffled, and the gaps keep getting bigger.

I asked this person at the end of our long conversation what message they wanted to pass on to the Lyndoch Living board:

“I want the public and the board to know that the situation is every bit as bad as what it is.

“The staffing situation has become diabolical…the shortages are near impossible to deal with. What you are saying, it’s happening, it’s telling it like it is.

“The board need to get a sense of the immense pressure the staff are under so please, listen, come down and speak to the staff directly. Please be interested in what is actually going on.”

This begs a question, does the Lyndoch board know what is going on?

Chair Sue Cassidy (Unisexcuts), Vice Chair Kerry Nelson (ex MPower CEO), Treasurer Kane Grant (Sinclair&Wilson), Prof Rob Wallis, Lorraine Mielnik, Ron Page, Andrew Paton (WCC) – do you ask? Are you told? Have you ever met with the non-executive staff?

All good questions for the AGM on 26 October which Kate Sloan, had she been accepted as a member, could have asked, and that is precisely why she wasn’t.

4 thoughts on “A message to the Lyndoch Living board from the front line”

  1. You the board need to get your act together is there a reason you think you do not have to answer any of the questions being asked of you, do you have no empathy for the staff & what they have to do. Why do you think all of the people that applied to be members where not good enough especially Kate Sloan who has more experience than any of you. Hang your heads in shame all of you, I hope you never have to put a family member into Lyndoch I really don’t know how any of you sleep at night. Do the right thing by everybody & resign all of you.

  2. A very brave lady, thank you Cheryl. And thanks to others who have gone public.
    We may all end our days in Lyndoch Living, so looking forward to things changing if possible. Money is not the end goal for any business of this nature, although good management should ensure good results. Warrnambool is obviously being used and abused, a shift from the previous pride in the facility which took so much community work to achieve. We all need to speak up and demand to know more. Thanks to the Terrier for doing this. I am sure many silent residents in our city will give their support when or if it all explodes.

    I will be in contact regarding Lyndoch Living – My Aged Care

  3. What I can’t understand is that there are reasonable people on the Board. How are they believing the bull being fed to them by management?!! Hope they’ve all studied their liability status as Board Members. Their insurance will only cover them whilst they act in good faith. I can’t see how they are acting in good faith when there is so much support of wrong doing possibly leaving them open personally for future poor financial performance and worse still injury/death claims from staff or residents. Board beware. (edited)

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