Majority of aged care residents don’t feel their needs are met

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The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has heard a great deal from experts, staff and administrators, but what about the thoughts of the people inside the system?

It turns out that those living in residential aged care facilities or receiving home care packages are every bit as unhappy with the system as you would expect.

In fact, according to surveys by the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI), which were presented to the royal commission last week, only around one quarter of those living in aged care facilities or receiving home care packages feel that their care needs are always met.

Around 39 per cent of those in residential aged care said that their needs were ‘mostly’ met, while that number was only 32.5 per cent for those receiving home care.

Care needs were met only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ for 33.4 per cent of people in residential care and 44.1 per cent in home care.

The share of people with care needs met ‘sometimes’, rarely’ or ‘never’ was even higher among people who use aged care respite services.

In the surveys, people identified concerns across many areas of their aged care.

Aged care facility residents are most commonly concerned about staffing, which includes lack of staff, call bells not being answered, high rates of staff turnover, inadequate training, and agency staff not knowing the resident or their needs.

The most common area of concern for people receiving a home care package was finance and administration, which included a lack of value for money, fee transparency, service coordination and rostering.

When the survey respondents were asked if they had lodged an official complaint or even an informal complaint, many said they did not report it as they did not think that anything would change or they did not want to be a nuisance.

Others said they were unsure who to report an issue to, while others felt that their concerns were too minor to bother registering an official complaint.

Of the concerns that were raised officially, less than 1 per cent were raised with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and less than half were resolved to the satisfaction of the care recipient.

Professor Joseph Ibrahim from Monash University said there was a need to hold aged care providers to higher standards.

“The current system of weak enforcement and inconsequential sanctions must change. Approved providers, their board members and executives should be held criminally culpable for institutional neglect and abuse, similar to what happens in workplaces,” Prof. Ibrahim said.

“Without substantive consequences, government ministers, their departments, the regulator and providers will not change their behaviour.”

Prof. Ibrahim said more power should be given to those in the system to ensure there were more resident-focused policies in place.

“Participation must go beyond asking about what flavour of ice cream to serve with dessert. Residents should, for example, be able to influence the selection of staff, sit on the board of governance, and be consulted about the operations of the care home and the whole sector,” Prof. Ibrahim said.

“Establishing a national group comprised almost entirely of aged care residents, with the addition of legal and administration expertise, and people who can assist with supported decision-making, would be a positive step. This group would report to federal parliament about funding, policy and practice reforms for aged care.”

Do you have a family member living in a residential aged care facility? Do you feel that their needs are always met? Do you receive home care packages? Are your needs always met?

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 9
  1. 0

    The aged system was set up in John Howard’s era as P.M. and quotas were established for funding limits. In addition private providers were encouraged to move in and Work Choices opened the door to casualisation of workplaces and particularly in the Aged care industry.
    There has never been proper oversight by any government of the taxpayer funding given to providers. Even now a significant amount of money is being thrown to providers but without stipulation as to how that money is to be spent and accounted for.
    So much improvement in needed to aged care but a major step will be ensuring transparency in expenditure of taxpayer funding.

    • 0

      Couldn’t agree more, Tanker. However we will never see the necessary reforms including provider accountability from the current LNP government. What will follow from the Royal Commission will be a lot of political hot air and spin, but no real action. When Frydenburg becomes PM next year don’t expect much change either. We have home care but choose to pay privately for some services as we can then determine what is best value for us.

    • 0

      Do either of you know what you are talking about? How the money is spent by Aged Care providers is in the hands of the aged person. There are fees charged by the provider, which are announced up-front, and the aged person can choose their provider and change their provider if not satisfied with performance. Although the allowance paid by the Government, less any means tested payment paid by the receiver of care goes to the provider, the receiver of the care designates how the funds are to be spent on the services which they select.

  2. 0

    The evidence from the current Royal Commission, just finalised, will show just how inept our aged care is, and has been. We should not have to fear and dread about having to go into Aged care as most of us do! This country talks the talk, but little respect is shown toward our elderly. Both Aged Care Pension Amount, and Aged Care need overhauling and improved significantly. The elderly have done their time building this country. Now they older and more frail, we should respect and support them.

  3. 0

    I’m dumbfounded.

    1. Where is the money allocated to aged care going?
    2. How much does the government contribute to private aged care?
    3. How well do present residents do in a) public and b) private aged care facilities.

    Firstly, the amount contributed by government to private aged care is ZERO! A Fat ZERO, ZILCH!
    Why then, would Private companies not complain they receive no help. Because they receive heaps of help by the most insidious Howard LNP government through charges, levied on residents and paid for by the resident’s relatives not by the government. I’ll give you a positive and certified example. In one private residence, the home is allowed to charge around $75.00 per day on initial admittance plus their standard care charges, amounting to $4200 odd per month. The $75.00 represents $2,250/month extra they pocket off the back of the resident/relative.

    Secondly, even public aged care homes don’t get away scot free. They are allowed to charge around $52.80 per DAY! Add other costs no doubt!

    So the LNP government is greasing the corporate and public sector, but giving (-) f***all to the residents. And by the most insidious, conniving sleuth of hand, costing it little out of pocket, so where then is the money being spent? Is it going to pay for salaries? and to whom? A whole department is sucking off the proceeds. 10 good people could run the show and still make a profit, after all, they don’t physically have to do anything. The government DHS even has the gall to raise the daily rate to cover inflation, even if inflation is negative.

    Do you think the Royal Commission will raise this issue? I bet my jewels they won’t, because it exposes extreme government hypocrisy, and Royal Commissions are renound for not rocking the boat. They are smart enough not to bite the hand that feeds them.

    By the way, many, many, skilled and professional staff and managers do very well out of the fees paid, only some homes treat their residents properly, because better treatment means less profit and vice versa.

    I won’t mention the RAD. That’s when you loan the aged care home between $600,000-$850,000, yes you read right 3/4 million dollars +, at ZERO interest to the beneficiary and for the life of the resident. Yes you get it back on death as the resident is smelling the daisies but the relatives have lost around $600,000 in lost earnings (compound interest) over ten years the resident is alive. And guess what:-you can’t claim this as a loss on earnings, it’s win-win for the aged care homes and lose-lose for the residents/relatives.. That’s got to be the greatest scam ever pulled by a government. Yet we, suck up to the advertising hype the government is doing something. We never ask but what? Wake up!

    When is YLC going to investigate this set of circumstances which has been going on for many years?

    • 0

      Hooley Dooley JoJozep. What a mess! So much corruption, and legal scamming of aged care residents and their families. I would hope the Royal Commission would recognise and address these unethical practices. It certainly highlights the fact that aged care should not, and cannot, be about profit. If profiteering from aged care is allowed to continue, then improvements to aged care will be minimal. Yes! There are some good private aged care homes which do provide excellent services to their aged care residents, but I suggest this care is only open to those who can afford to be placed in those aged care homes. Aged care is a government responsibility, the quality of care and funding is their responsibility.

  4. 0

    One is expecting already vulnerable people to make formal complaints against the home that is where they live, against the people that are supposed to be caring for them… Some may fear retribution … A relative of mine was reluctant to file a complaint after hospital ‘lack of a bell’ next to her bed resulted in her trying unaided to get to the loo. She fell, fracturing her pelvis/hip. She was then told how stupid she was and instructed to ‘get up’ to return to her bed – she needed help, the X-ray the next day revealed the fracture and surgery followed …. Imagine being where management gives you the ‘cold shoulder’ as a trouble maker for the rest of your life? Frail older persons can actually fear their care provider organisation / institution as they know who ‘has the power’ and it is not the patient/client. Some places and people are, however, of course most wonderful but staff are frequently overstretched so care is compromised.

  5. 0

    I saw the fear in my wife and children’s eyes when I told them about my condition then they start to find solution on their own to help my condition.I am an 68 now who was diagnose COPD emphysema which I know was from my years of smoking. I started smoking in school when smoking was socially acceptable. I remember when smoking was permitted in hospitals. It was not known then how dangerous cigarettes were for us, and it seemed everybody smoked but i was able to get rid of my Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ) condition through the help of total cure herbal foundation my husband bought, has the right herbal formula to help you get rid and repair any lung conditions and cure you totally with their natural organic herbs. I wish anybody who starts smoking at a young age would realize what will eventually happen to their bodies if they continue that vile habit throughout their life,This is a equitable of a way to get of your COPD.



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