The conversations of life

‘Senior Sitter’ ad highlights need to do your research on home care providers


The ad, which was placed in the classifieds of a free Gold Coast newsletter in May by someone described as a retired registered nurse, offered to mind seniors in clients’ homes on a freelance basis for $12 per hour, plus a one-off $8 payment for petrol.

Christine Smyth, a local solicitor who specialises in laws affecting the elderly, has told the ABC that the ad should raise alarm bells.

“How do we monitor freelancers – people who would individually come into our homes and offer their services?” she said.

She wants the Federal Government to introduce a ‘blue card’ screening system for aged care workers, similar to the one Queensland uses for working with children and young people.

Strict police and background checks in place

It’s important to remember that workers in aged care and home care services funded by the Government are required to undergo police and background checks so there are already measures in place to protect residents and clients.

While the Government has ruled out a ‘blue card’ system, there has been calls in the sector for a national register of aged care workers – complete with work history – and we would support this idea.

We’d advise those looking for services to do their research and check how their provider vets their workers.

You can search for a list of approved home care providers in your area on agedcare101 here.

A practising aged care physiotherapist for the past 13 years, Jill has worked in more than 50 metropolitan and regional aged care homes. She has also toured care facilities across the US and Africa. She is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff that serve them.

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