Pratik Sigdel was asked by a resident to return to his place on his first day at a nursing home.
He arrived in the country less than a year after leaving Nepal and took a job where racism became part of his daily life.
“From the first day… they used to tell us: ‘You go somewhere, go back to your country of origin. I don’t like you. I don’t like your skin.’ ’” he said. He said.
Experiencing racism was so common that he accepted it as part of the job.
“I’m here to support [the residents],” He said.
Experts say racism toward workers from nursing home residents is a pervasive problem in an often overlooked sector.
“What no one talks about is the elephant in the room,” said Bianca Briginas of the National Institute on Aging.
“But it is there and people experience it on a daily basis.
“It’s very specific to your skin color, your way of speaking, your accent, your appearance.”
According to the federal government’s 2020 Aged Care Workers Census Report, 35% of direct care workers in aged care homes were identified as culturally and/or linguistically diverse, and from 2016 26% increase.
as part of her job, Professor Brijnath conducts seminars on dealing with racism for elderly care workers.
There is limited data on the rate of racism experienced by staff, but she said it was an issue that was raised “over and over again.”
“All the workshops … and we’re in public forums and conferences and other places, and it’s been covered repeatedly as well,” she said.
More than half of people living in permanent aged care homes have dementia, according to government statistics, which could make dealing with racism even more difficult, Professor Brigenas said.
“When people have dementia, they lose their control, and they may act or see things in ways they probably never did before,” she said.
Changing patient behavior and fostering respectful relationships may be nearly impossible, she said.
But that doesn’t mean staff shouldn’t get support, she said.
“part of the job”
Flinders University researcher Temitope Olaskanmi Alimi says racism against older staff is often overlooked because it’s seen as “part of the job.”
In 2022, Dr. Olasunkanmi-Alimi conducted a study investigating racism in elderly care through the experiences of 30 African immigrant women working in the field.
She found that workers kept silent about the racism they faced for fear of losing their visas and jobs.
“They believe, ‘I’m a professional, so I have to look at it as part of my job,'” she said.
Dr. Olasunkanmi-Alimi found that women face racism, from verbal abuse to black nurses’ refusal to care.
“[Residents] Say, “Get down, you animals.” I don’t want black people to look after me,” he said.
“The women I’ve talked to… feel depressed.
“They lose their sense of identity and self-esteem through acts of microaggression shown against them.”
Dr Olasunkanmi-Alimi said he believes the racism plaguing the aged care sector is rooted in racism that exists across Australia.
Structural problems in the industry
Adele Murdolo, executive director of the Multicultural Center for Women’s Health, said culturally diverse aged care staff also face systemic racism.
Dr. Murdolo said women from culturally diverse backgrounds working in the sector often struggle to advance in their careers, regardless of their qualifications and accumulated experience abroad.
A 2020 RMIT University study found that home care workers who speak English as a second language are four times more likely to complete a degree than their English-speaking colleagues.
The study found that personal care workers born abroad were almost nine times more likely to complete a degree than those born in Australia.
Dr. Murdolo described leadership in the aged care sector as “a very masculine, very white group.”
“Going down the hierarchy, you find that most of the personal care assistants and chaperones are women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds,” she said.
“I think within the sector, we really underestimate the leadership potential of immigrant women.”
More support needed as reliance on migrant workers grows
yesterday, The federal government admitted not to fulfill promises to place registered nurses in aged care facilities Voluntary target from the Royal Commission on Elderly Care by 1 July.
The vacancies in this sector exaggerated by the pandemic have increased Australia’s reliance on culturally diverse aged care workers.
In 2020, the government announced priority visa processing and relaxation of visa requirements to increase the workforce of migrant elderly care workers.
Professor Brijnath and Dr Olasunkanmi-Alimi said Australia needs to find ways to support its diverse elderly care workforce if it is to survive the workforce crisis.
With federal support, the Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) Alliance is conducting research to understand the experiences of culturally diverse aged care workers.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Aged Care said the findings of the study were used to promote the cultural safety of workers in the aged care industry, recognizing the diversity of workers in the aged care industry. You said you would support the development of the toolbox.
Professor Brijnath said resources may not be available quickly enough.
“We need to start by talking openly about the concerns that workers face. There are real prejudices that workers encounter on a daily basis,” she said.
She said geriatric care departments should shift their focus to relationship-centered care rather than patient-centered care.
“To care, someone has to receive it and someone has to give it, and it’s an interaction,” she said.
Professor Brijnath said workplaces need to support staff, talk to residents and their families, and ask highly racist clients to find care elsewhere.
But we need to find the best approach, she said.
“There is certainly a need for more research in this area and evidence of what works to overcome racism,” said Professor Brigenas.
After working in the field for almost three years, Sigdel said that despite facing racism, the overall experience was positive.
But creating resources for management to better support staff experiencing racism would be a positive step in the right direction.
“I want management to step in and work to improve workers who face racism,” Sigdel said.
“If you experience racism at work, management should always support you in improving your mental health.
“If I don’t feel safe at work, how can I work properly at work?”
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-03-21/racism-in-aged-care-widespread-issue-in-australian-services/102119404 The ‘elephant in the room’ of racism in Australia’s aged care homes