FAMILIES of residents at two Bendigo aged care homes have called for immediate reversal of cuts to staff.
They have launched a petition, saying they fear their elderly parents will not receive proper care, as already stretched staffing rosters drop by 6.5 per cent.
Royal Freemasons confirmed on Monday it was restructuring rosters, to relieve "significant" financial strain.
Resident's daughter Jan Claridge said she feared many little things already below standard would slip further when cuts came in.
Mrs Claridge said staff were fantastic at looking after her mother, but already run off their feet.
She said she regularly found her 90-year-old mother dehydrated, her room grubby, with little things, like her bedside table out of reach.
Mrs Claridge often witnessed staff take 10-15 minutes to respond to her mother's buzzer, sometimes having to get another staff member, taking another 15-20 minutes.
Recently her mother fell out of bed, but the family weren't told for a month, she said.
"That's not a reflection on the actual workers, it's a reflection of the fact that the organisation is understaffed," Mrs Claridge said.
"Whilst we're mainly advocating for our loved ones, we're in a sense are also advocating for the workers.
"They're lovely people, they're just wonderful, but there's definitely going to be pressure on the staff who are called to work."
Mrs Claridge said communication was one of the biggest issues, from both management and the ward.
In addition to the petition, the group has called on Royal Freemasons to meet a set of communication standards, including monthly reporting, regular residents and families meetings, and clear and open communication.
Royal Freemasons chief executive Kerrie Rivett said the organisation was in the process of finalising staff consultations. She said families and residents received a communication from Royal Freemasons notifying them of the change.
Ms Rivett said Royal Freemasons communicated with families through email tests and newsletters.
Kaye Bearlin's mother has lived at the Flora Hill Royal Freemasons for four years.
Ms Bearlin only heard about the restructure when she began to ask questions about federal funding for COVID-19 support.
She said she was pleased with the care her mother received at Flora Hill Royal Freemasons, but was concerned fewer staff rostered on would affect care.
Ms Bearlin said it was ludicrous Royal Freemasons would cut staff, given the aftermath of the Royal Commission.
She said families just wanted to see their elderly relatives cared for properly.
Ms Rivett said the new rosters were adapted to meet residents' needs and fit within the funding required, in response to questions around proper care for residents.
She said the average bell response time at the Bendigo facilities was three minutes, and the cleaning team worked seven days a week.
Petition at: chng.it/Q8FWzFk9cj
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