Carol Altmann- The Terrier
Tonight, names and faces.
I want to share with you the names and faces in this montage, who are now among an estimated 200 people whose faces you have not seen, but who have left Lyndoch Living in the past five years.
Each of them has a name, a face and have spent years caring for our elderly – they deserve to be more than just a number.
Numbers are numbing.
It’s the names and faces that capture what has been unfolding at Lyndoch since 2015, with a trickle of staff leaving turning into a stream and now into a flood.
The seven faces here are among those, in the past eight weeks, who have either resigned from Lyndoch or taken extended sick leave.
They have been part of the backbone of Lyndoch and, between them, have decades of aged care and nursing experience:
Director of Nursing Julie Baillie, who has worked for Lyndoch for more than 20 years.
Operational Manager of Workforce Development and Registered Nurse Roselie Morey, who has worked at Lyndoch for more than a decade.
Clinical Leader and Enrolled Nurse Scott Lucas, again another decade of service.
Nurse Unit Manager and Registered Nurse Anita Plowman, who has worked at Lyndoch for almost 30 years.
Registered nurse and former Nurse Unit Manager, Maxine Lane, 20 years of service at Lyndoch.
Registered nurse and former May Noonan Hostel Manager Jeanette Edge, another 10 years of service.
Nurse Unit Manager and Registered Nurse Cath Porter, just over 10 years of service.
All gone and unlikely to return.
So many Lyndoch staff hung in there and hung in there, until it became intolerable.
The staff can’t say that publicly, but I can: it becomes intolerable.
The Terrier has been publishing stories about this for the past two years in the hope that the Lyndoch board and the local community would sense that something wasn’t right.
The community is working it out. The board, however, is not.
As I wrote on Sunday night, the Lyndoch board was sent an anonymous letter by a group of staff way back in April last year, warning them of the changing culture, the growing toxicity, and the consequences.
At the time of the letter , about 80 to 100 staff had gone.
Since then, according to my sources, another 80 to 100 have left. There will be more.
I have spoken to dozens of these people and they all tell disturbing stories which have never been fully aired and can’t be without legal protection.
But I can tell you this – very few of them wanted to leave their jobs.
Many thought they would have life-long careers at Lyndoch.
All of them, bar none, miss the residents they cared for.
Please think of each of these 200 staff next week, on Tuesday 26 October, when Lyndoch Living holds its Annual General Meeting.
None of them will be there, they won’t be named and they won’t be celebrated, which is why I want to honour each and every one of them now.
So to all the nurses, personal care workers, human resources managers, finance officers, payroll staff, cleaners, kitchen hands, chefs, lifestyle workers, gardeners, volunteer coordinators, pastoral care workers, maintenance workers, accountants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, executive staff, directors of nursing, nurse unit managers, clinical leaders and anybody who I may have missed in the long list of the fallen – thankyou.
One day I would like to gather all of you on the Civic Green so Warrnambool can say thank you too.
This loss should be intolerable to us, as a community which loves Lyndoch, and entrusts our loved ones to its care.
And it is why we fight on.