The Health, Aged Care and Sport Committee has presented its Report on the Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia. The inquiry examined the delivery and regulation of the current aged care system and the prevalence of mistreatment.
The Committee Chair, Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, stated that: “While many Australians experience high quality aged care, the community is justifiably concerned about the many examples of abuse and mistreatment that have been exposed through recent inquiries and reporting.
“Our Committee received submissions from many residents and family members which outlined harrowing examples of mistreatment. This is not good enough for a nation like Australia.
“Australia’s population is ageing, which will inevitably lead to more demand for residential aged care places. It is vital that there is an aged care system in place which has the confidence of consumers, is able to respond to changing expectations of care, and which responds effectively to any instance of mistreatment.
“As the inquiry was nearing its end, the Australian Government announced a Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The Committee has welcomed this announcement and other recent government measures to improve the provision of aged care services. At the same time, the Committee considers that the Royal Commission should not delay the implementation of improvements recommended in this Report and other recent reviews.”
The report made 14 recommendations, including:
- The development of national guidelines for the Community Visitors Scheme, including policies related to observed or suspected abuse or neglect;
- A review of the Aged Care Funding Instrument to ensure it is providing for adequate levels of care, is indexed annually and includes for penalty breaches;
- A Medicare Benefits Schedule review of medical practitioner visits to residential aged care facilities;
- That one Registered Nurse is always on site in residential aged care facilities; monitoring and reporting on the correlation between standards of care and staffing mixes;
- An independent review and parliamentary inquiry into the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission after two years of operation;
- Ensuring that unannounced visits by regulators to residential aged care facilities are not confined to business hours;
- Amending the Aged Care Act 1997 to limit and place conditions on the use of restrictive practices in residential aged care facilities; and
- Making information regarding the number of complaints and complainants at individual aged care facilities available on the My Aged Care website.