Manchester in Group Homes
“Bed Linen and Bath Towels”
The quality and condition of bed linen and bath towels is a major quality of life factor for the residents of the group homes of those with intellectual or multiple disabilities who have so little in their lives as a consequence, and in comparison with the general population.
Recent changes to the residential charges for the residents of the majority of group homes throughout Victoria which are managed by the Department of Human Services, may, in many situations, provide questionable outcomes without good stakeholder and community visitor intervention.
Without such intervention, the frequency and quality of manchester replacement may be questionable, with financial and purchase limitations for replacement before the guts has been completely washed out of it. Especially bath towels and face washers, because of the institutional paranoid hygiene culture which still exists in respect to these. This culture determines bath towels be used just once before being washed.
As a direct result of this, they soon become hard as a brick - especially when little or no effective fabric softener is used in the washing process, and items are frequently not air dried.
Incentive for seeking regular replacement of manchester and clothing declines, as staff often find access to residents’ trust fund finances frustrating.
This could easily become worse with the department compounding the problem by now funding manchester within its new board and lodging/commonwealth rent assistance (CRA) residential charge arrangements.
Manchester and whitegoods for 2,300 department residents across the state is to be funded from the, now, full CRA - justified by the bundling of rent and housekeeping.
We estimate the department will receive around $7.4 million, of which less than half will be needed to fund manchester and whitegoods for the 2.300 residents. Even less, if manchester is left until it is rough as guts, and falling apart.
One of the most depreciating manchester items are pillows. We have seen residents’ pillows left flat as a biscuit, totally worn-out , for ages.
Some of the most depreciated clothing items result from buttons missing, damaged zips and worn-out elastic.
There are few very basic necessities residents of group homes, those with so little in their lives, especially need. These are, good food, good clothes/shoes, good manchester and good personal care and grooming.
This means they don’t live on junk food, but have a well-balanced diet. They have a good range of quality, well-fitting, well maintained, nice looking, fashionable and age-appropriate clothes. Their manchester is quality ware, and frequently assessed for replacement. And their personal care is first class.
Basic procedures which would help improve the condition of manchester and clothing would be, (a) a box in their wardrobe for damaged clothing. Staff need just place questionable clothing items in the box, for consideration by the house supervisor, for repair or replacement, (b) a washing basket in the resident’s room, so clothes are washed once per week rather than every day and the washed item worn every other day and, (c) a towel rail and procedure, so towels are not washed every day.
Nevertheless, the department needs to spell-out the procedure of how, and how often residents will receive new manchester in exchange for the CRA.
We trust this information will materialise soon, and procedures will not be so bureaucratic as to frustrate staff and stakeholders.
LIFESTYLE IN SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION (LISA) INC.
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