Robert is a 60-year-old Forgotten Australian. As a child, he was abused by his mother, who had also been institutionalised and as a result, he was removed from her care by DOCS (now the Department of Family and Community Services). He was eventually placed in the 'care' of a relative. Due to the abuse, he suffered during his childhood, Robert has a brain injury which causes him to have some cognitive impairment and difficulty processing information. Additionally, he has multiple health and mobility issues. He is ineligible for NDIS and currently has a level 3 home care package.
Robert has lived independently in his own home for many years and wishes to remain there for as long as possible. He needs to have daily assistance to ensure his health, well-being, and safety, but his package is underfunded meaning he only receives visits that include two shopping trips and one cleaning session.
The home care provider considers Robert to be a difficult client, and, like many Care Leavers, Robert feels frustrated with them as he feels that they do not listen to him or treat him with respect. The workers do not understand that Robert has different and complex needs, boundaries, and communication methods due to his trauma-based behaviours.
Robert’s experience with his home care provider is less than adequate. The workers will frequently ignore his requests for the shower and toilet to be cleaned, tasks that are both essential as he is unable to perform these responsibilities himself. Additionally, when sent to do the shopping for Robert, the careers will regularly return with unlisted items and without the items he has listed and needs. The workers also criticise his eating habits. Furthermore, if his care days fall on public holidays, he misses food or cleaning. There is one exception that Robert is grateful for, a care worker who takes her time and created a bond with him. This worker shows him respect, never criticises him and does more than her allocated work for Robert.
Transport is another failing within Robert’s care package as the provider believes that his family should provide this care even though this is often not possible. Robert was previously very reliant on his car but had to surrender his license due to health risks and now is not always able to get access to medical appointments as well as being confined and isolated, which is a larger struggle for him.
This story was part of the submission to the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety. The name has been changed for the individuals' privacy.