Federal MPs launch inquiry into aged care abuse

Inquiry could stall reform of residential aged care, warns industry body.

Federal MPs launch inquiry into aged care abuse

A new House of Representatives investigation into the mistreatment of residents in aged care facilities may put the brakes on timely reform of the sector, industry body Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) warned late yesterday.

The group said the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport’s Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia would probably duplicate research and findings already undertaken and slow down the overhaul of nursing home regulation at a critical time.

The eight-member Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport will be chaired by Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman. It will take public submissions until 8 February 2018.

Mr Zimmerman said the committee’s examination of the aged care system would focus on the quality of care and services provided to elderly nursing home residents.

“The committee will also consider the consumer protections available for aged care residents, including those who do not have family members to help them exercise their rights,” he said of one of the terms of reference.

Also to be probed is the incidence of all mistreatment of residents in residential aged care facilities and associated reporting and response mechanisms, including the handling of whistle blowers.

The committee will also focus on the effectiveness of a number or organisations, such as the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commission.

The Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities will also be reviewed to ensure it contained adequate consumer protection for those in residential aged care.

Currently, more than 175,000 Australians live in permanent residential aged care. However, the committee would not be investigating individual cases of abuse. Those concerned about the treatment of a person in aged care can contact the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552.

A spokesperson for Mr Zimmerman told YourLifeChoices that no deadline had been set for the committee to hand down its findings, but that it was expected the inquiry would be completed before next year’s May Budget. Details will be announced soon of the public hearings that members of the committee will hold around the nation.

Meanwhile, LASA chief executive Sean Rooney said aged care safety and quality were not negotiable.

“Age services providers, government and the community all share a desire for a high performing aged care sector, supported by a quality assurance and accreditation system that meets the needs of older Australians and upholds the standards the community rightfully expects when it comes to quality of care,” Mr Rooney said.

“We support this inquiry but are concerned that with the Federal Government already considering a number of significant inputs that will further drive aged care quality and reform, the work of the inquiry may duplicate research and findings already undertaken and slow down the process of reform at a critical time.”

Reviews that have already been completed include: the Tune Report on the Aged Care Legislated Review, the Carnell Paterson Report into the Government’s quality accreditation systems and processes, a Senate inquiry into aged care quality assessment and accreditation, an Aged Care Single Quality Framework, a Resource Utilisation and Classification Study, Increasing Choice in Home Care changes, and the new Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce.

Mr Rooney said data from the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner demonstrated that “overwhelmingly, the majority of facilities provide excellent care and are working continually to improve services”.

“However, our commitment to ensuring quality and safety is emphatic and we will work with the Government to support initiatives that are effective in reaching this end,” Mr Rooney said.

Submissions to the inquiry can be lodged online using a My Parliament account. For more details about the inquiry visit www.aph.gov.au

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    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    8th Dec 2017
    11:22am
    This issue has been clear for decades and now we have an enquiry? Let's hope is has more substance than some of the so called enquiries during the past 10 years. Next one the Banking RC. That one will be loaded to not produce anything either.

    The real issue which has stopped reforms is electoral donations from healthcare providers. The bribe of choice accepted by the criminals who have the hide to call themselves our elected representative.
    GeorgeM
    8th Dec 2017
    1:18pm
    Yes the issue has been known for decades, but then the priority for the morons in this parliament was Same Sex Marriage!!! Now that's out of the way, they are looking for something to do! Hopefully, they may get back to real work now instead of hugging each other!

    Also, a Federal ICAC is absolutely essential to deal with the corrupt practices on this and many directions, such as Chinese connections of Dastyari, Robb, Keating, etc, etc.

    I maintain my position - as a first step, get rid of all current seat-warmers from the Liberal, Greens & Labor by voting them last in preferences, if Australia & Retirees want to get a real parliament which works for the people.
    MICK
    8th Dec 2017
    2:08pm
    Young homosexuals WILL vote against anybody who does not serve their interests. Ageing retirees generally use the footy team mentality when voting. Many never change who they support so this group can safely be ignored.
    A federal ICAC WITH WIDE RANGING POWERS is absolutely necessary. Don't hold your breath though as criminals never set up systems which result in them being caught. This lot are no different.
    Tib
    8th Dec 2017
    11:42am
    Aged care , retirement villages all set up to prey on the vulnerable. If I'm lucky I'll be dead before I have to go anywhere near these places. At this point I would like to thank the government for nothing. I don't hold out hope this inquiry will do anything either.
    Jennie
    8th Dec 2017
    4:48pm
    Residents in Retirement Villages also experience abuse, usually bullying, harassment and emotional abuse. That's as well as the financial ripoffs...
    Anonymous
    8th Dec 2017
    6:58pm
    Last year, I was in three nursing homes for a total of six weeks. If you still have your mental faculties 9as I do), these places are hell on Earth.
    Blossom
    8th Dec 2017
    7:17pm
    Onde point that disturbs me with Age Care Facilities is that even if their Dementia is only a very slight memory they are restricted to the area where all Dementia sufferers are. Those who were friends prior toone showing signs of Dementia no longer had the opportunity to meet because of the isolation imposed on Early Dementia sufferers. That distresses some residents a lot.
    ex PS
    12th Dec 2017
    9:06am
    Blossom, this is because high care clients attract a higher government subsidy and therefore make more money for the investors. Staff are encouraged to note all variations of mood and behavior of the residents so that as many as possible can be labeled high care. It is all about making profit.
    My wife left the industry because she could not handle the constant cut backs on client expenses all in order to make more profits for the investors.
    TREBOR
    8th Dec 2017
    12:44pm
    I do hope that this inquiry is thorough and painstaking and is without fear or favour - but I wouldn't bank on it.

    On the other hand, I sincerely hope that mis-treatment is a minority issue, and that it is covered in all its aspects.
    maelcolium
    8th Dec 2017
    3:06pm
    An enquiry should be held on the funding arrangements the Government force onto the elderly when the need arises to enter aged care. Forcing the vulnerable to sell their homes quickly to enter aged care is a travesty and benefits the operators above the elderly. To top it of they them rip back 80% of the pension so these poor devils can barely exist.
    Shame all politicians - shame.

    8th Dec 2017
    6:56pm
    They're for-profit organizations. They're understaffed; the staff are underqualified and often unskilled. There's only one registered nurse in most facilities. This is the source of the abuse.
    ex PS
    12th Dec 2017
    9:12am
    My wife has worked in a few of these places, the minimum certification required for client contact is Certificate III, and I believe it is a requirement that the nursing staff are allocated as a ratio of so many nurses to so many clients, of course it varies according to the health of the clients in an establishment. Not everyone in these facilities are physically or mentally impaired, many are extremely switched on and are their by choice.

    Of course I will allow that different states may have different rules.
    Blossom
    8th Dec 2017
    7:13pm
    Aged Care Facilities are insepcted but the owners and staff know in advance when it is going to happen.
    Blossom
    8th Dec 2017
    7:19pm
    They make sure all their reports are up to date. The condition of some of the buildings I don't know how they keep their accreditation to keep their Govt, funding.
    johnp
    11th Dec 2017
    1:27pm
    I assume this inquiry will include the AVEO scandals ??
    ex PS
    12th Dec 2017
    8:59am
    Having a government inquiry is like forming a committee, it is what you do when you don't actually want to do anything about an issue. This government will not spend money on people who will probably never change their voting habits under any circumstances.
    Retirees have lost their power because they almost always vote the same way at every election, why would any government spend time and money on someone who will not be swayed in their voting pattern? They know that no matter what a certain percentage will vote for them and a certain percentage will not, if this is never changes there is no need to pay attention to their issues as it will not change the voting figures.