The friends and family of an alleged murder victim want the implementation of the national aged care screening process to be fast-tracked to ensure workers are adequately vetted before entering the aged care sector.
Friends and family of 70-year-old Monica Mary Stockdale, who was allegedly murdered in Western Australia last year by an aged care worker, have called for the initiative to be introduced as soon as possible.
Ms Stockdale, 70, was a resident at Baptistcare Bethel in Albany, WA, where police allege she was strangled by worker Jacob Anthony Hoysted on November 28, 2022.
The 19-year-old is due to appear via video link in court today for mention of a murder charge and has not yet entered a plea.
Ms Stockdale’s son, Matt, said a screening process for aged care could prevent elder abuse in the future.
“I think they should be putting in more effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people living in these aged care facilities,” Mr Stockdale told ABC.
Ms Stockdale’s friend, Jocelyn O’Connell, also said implementing the register was critical.
“It would help track [workers], it would help the care system hopefully filter out the people who shouldn’t be there,” she said.
The screening process was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the Federal Government is currently working on the scheme with no set release date.
The register will aim to weed out people who are not suitable to work in the aged care sector.
The Federal Government said the initiative was multi-faceted and includes the Code of Conduct for Aged Care which was implemented in December, as well as expanded worker screening, English proficiency, and ongoing training.
Currently, under the new Code Of Conduct for Aged Care changes, one person has been banned from working in aged care. However, this Code doesn’t prevent unsuitable people from entering the sector until the Code is breached.
Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia Chief Executive, Patricia Sparrow, said there could be a while to wait yet until the initiative is properly introduced.
“The Government has agreed to implement [the register] but it won’t be operational until we have a new Aged Care Act in 2024,” Ms Sparrow told ABC.
“[It will] make sure that if there is a problem or an issue, and some of them can be very severe things that need to be addressed, those things would be noted [as] there needs to be a way of capturing the information,” she said.
The national aged care screening process is currently being formulated among stakeholders.