A landmark new report released today has revealed older people receiving aged care continued to endure unacceptable and confronting experiences across Australia in 2020-21.
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) said the report is the first definitive public annual report which captures the experiences of older people engaging with the aged care system.
OPAN CEO, Craig Gear OAM, said the report reflects many of the issues raised in the Aged Care Royal Commission, highlighting that more work needs to be done to improve the aged case system.
“We acknowledge the Australian Government’s commitment to transform the aged care system and were pleased to see it’s significant investment in the May budget as a big first step,” Mr Gear said.
“It is important to acknowledge that while the transformation of the aged care system has begun, it is not yet fixed, and older people are still enduring confronting experiences.
“It also reinforces why further investment in, and transformation of, the aged care system is required and why aged care advocacy is so important.
“We look forward to working closely with the Department of Health, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, and aged care providers to address these ongoing concerns and ensure the voice of older people is heard and respected.”
OPAN Board Chair, Mary Anne Hunt, said: “this report is an important opportunity to continue improving sector wide shortfalls and older people’s lived experiences.
“We know this is what good providers are committed to and will deliver for older people.
“We will continue to advocate with older Australians to ensure their voices are heard and that systemic issues impacting their lives are addressed by government, service providers and other agencies responsible for aged and community care services.”
The National Aged Care Advocacy Program Report identified eight top presenting issues which included:
· Residential care – quality of care, care planning and security of tenure.
· COVID related issues – lack of communication with families, visitor restrictions, quality of care concerns, reduced access to social supports.
· The abuse of older people – misuse of enduring power of attorney, financial abuse, increased risk of abuse due to COVID-19, unwanted admission into residential care.
· Assessment services – lack of service availability, inappropriate triaging of assessments, long wait times.
· Commonwealth Home Support Program – lack of service availability particularly in rural and remote areas, workforce shortages, increase in CHSP requests.
· Home care packages – extended waiting period, fees, communication with providers, workforce shortages.
· Diverse and marginalised groups – understanding and accessing the system, culturally appropriate and trauma informed care, family and financial abuse.
· Transition care, short-term restorative care and respite – accessing transitional care from hospital, quality of care, lack of transparent costs.
The report has been informed by an analysis of the qualitative data captured in OPAN’s member’s quarterly reporting through 2020-21, and also includes case studies of older people’s experiences, some of which are quite distressing.