Government kickbacks to training providers
Violent, dysfunctional students
An underfunded and neglected industry

The ‘nurse’ yanked a jacket violently over the elderly woman’s head, and slapped her in the face, repeatedly.

Not content with that, she yelled hateful words in the woman’s ears.

The elderly woman stood still. She was gripping her walking frame. Her head was lowered, submissive. She was silent, like a dumb animal.

Finally, the ‘nurse’ collected rubbish from the bathroom, tied up the bag and used it to belt the woman in the face several times, before walking out of the room.

A hidden camera installed by a concerned relative, captured the entire incident.

I didn’t need to see part two of Four Corners show on Aged Care.

I went through my own hell while completing an Enrolled Nursing course in 1999.


I had often thought about a career in nursing.

Completing the Enrolled Nursing course before going on the the University undergraduate program seemed a logical way to get the experience and support myself financially.

I put money aside for the course and completed a pre-study program.  I didn’t plan on spending eleven months trapped by a gang of violent thugs.

Half a dozen of the students had paid nothing for their course. They were only there because they had been pushed into it by Social Security services. They bitterly resented having their welfare lifestyles interrupted.

‘The gang’, as they quickly became know, sat up the back during every class and did their best to destroy other students chances of learning anything.

They yelled out as soon as a student asked a question. They threw lesson handouts and litter around the classroom. And they singled out people sitting in the front row trying to listen to the teacher, as being ‘goody goody’s’.

Students sitting in the front row, straining to hear the teacher talking, were attacked at every opportunity.

‘The gang’ was so loud you could them screaming, when you walking up the TAFE corridor towards the classroom.

Anatomy classes, particularly around bladder and bowel topics were greeted with howls of laughter.

Classes about dementia drew jeers, with old people being as being called ‘loonies’.

While out on placement, ‘the gang’ followed dedicated students around the nursing home, aping them behind their back, giggling and yelling out terms like ‘fatty’ and ‘looser’.

‘The gang’ even sat in handover and told lies about residents “eating their own faeces” to their teachers during feedback sessions “as a joke”.

‘The gang’ went on to fail their CPR exam.

‘The gang’ was never held accountable for their behaviour or removed from the course.

‘The gang’ all passed the Enrolled Nursing course with flying colours.

They just seemed invincible.

Others who had paid full fees and enrolled with the good intentions of becoming nurses were not so lucky.

Two women with a good work background who routinely sat together in the front row, dropped out after the first term. I met one of them a few months after the course finished.

“I was so devastated by the violence on that aged care course… that I went to bed for two months. It shattered my life”.
Ex student of an Enrolled Nurses course, 1999, Victoria.

It turned out, that the TAFE was receiving thousands of dollars in subsidies from Social Security, for pushing long term welfare recipients into nursing courses.

The aged care industry was left to bear the consequences of this disgraceful Government policy. Some of ‘the gang’ went on to be sacked from nursing homes for stealing and other offences.

Millions of dollars of government subsidies are are being passed into the hands of aged care training course providers every year.

How many shocked Australians who watched the elderly woman being abused understand this money trail?

If there is an overarching theme when listening to stories of violent behaviour of a small number of Aged Care staff, it is that complaints are never deal with by the well-heeled Australian bureaucracy.

Government Departments, Ombudsman and Complaints Officers just pass complaints around, like a child’s game of ‘pass the parcel’.

Serious issues just gets brushed under the carpet.

Major problems remain. Innocent people continue to get hurt.

And the most vulnerable people in the community, are left to deal with the consequences.

‘The aged care sector will never reform, until it takes full control of the aged care training providers, and bans them from taking subsidies from Social Security, for filling their courses with long term welfare recipients.’
Delia Scales, co founder Wikihospitals

Since I set up this website, dozens of people have privately approached me, wanting to talk about errors and suspected deaths in hospitals and nursing homes.

“My mother was bashed by an Aged Care nurse. I saw the bruises. She was terrified of him. I complained to the management but nothing was done. I feel so guilty”.
Daughter of a woman in a nursing home, 2014, Victoria

“My husband died a month after he was admitted to a nursing home. They changed his insulin medication, ignored his unstable blood sugars and covered up that his leg ulcer had deteriorated.  I told them I was going to file a complaint. That night he died. His blood sugar went down to 2, but nobody did anything. How is that possible?”
Wife of a man who died in a nursing home, 2016, Victoria

This is very sensitive topic. But it has to be discussed.

Most Aged Care nurses and carers do a thankless job, for a low wage, working under great pressure.

They frequently do not have enough clean linen, continence pads, clean clothes to dress residents in and toiletries. They are often berated during shift for not being ‘fast enough’. Working ‘short’ because someone has called in sick is common.

Elderly people are often incontinent and confused. Cleaning up urine and faeces from every conceivable place is part of the daily work.

‘Finger painting’ means smearing faeces in your hair, on the bed, or the chair.

‘Snowflakes’ means tearing your incontinence pad up into tiny shreds and leaving the fluff drifting around the room.

This is not an easy job for the most caring and balanced person.

It is absolutely not the place for violent, antisocial and resentful people.

“I would like to see the entire Aged Care bureaucracy disbanded. They could be replaced with smart devices, cloud analytics and a public reporting system, allowing people to raise issues and ensure they are dealt with promptly.”
Delia Scales, co founder Wikihospitals

Alternatives to traditional nursing homes are currently available.

An Australian company has produced smart incontinence pads that pick up wetness, send a signal to the nurses station, and the time it takes to change the wet pad is recorded.

A Dutch nursing home is trialling students living accomodation free in nursing homes, in return for providing companionship.

Robotic companions, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence is helping people to stay at home for longer.

The majority of the staff in Aged Care are wonderful people, doing a difficult job for nowhere near enough money.

But there is a significant minority who should never, ever, have been enrolled in Aged Care courses, let alone graduated.

© Wikihospitals September 2018