Apr 18, 2018

Commanding New Watchdog Announced To Tackle Reports Of Aged Care Failings

In the wake of numerous findings of grievous neglect and malpractice in many aged care facilities in Australia, the Turnbull government has announced a new ‘one-stop-shop’ agency, to be called the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

This new agency bringing together the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and the aged care regulatory arm of the Health Department will be the first and all encompassing point of call for complaints and quality control in aged care, beginning 1 January 2019.

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt released the information this week and has gone on to outline the changes that will be taking place.

Mr Wyatt has articulated that “The unified new commission will be a responsive, one-stop shop to prevent failures, highlight quality concerns and have them quickly rectified,” a move to bring efficiency, awareness and agency to a sector that has long been plagued with scandal.

In response to the allegations from one family whose loved one had been receiving care at the government run Oakden facility, a review of national aged care regulation was conducted.

The review and a later scathing report that looked into the Oakden facility found in March that elderly dementia patients at the facility were abused and neglected by their carers for over ten years.

The author of the report, South Australian anti-corruption commissioner, Bruce Lander found damning maladministration instances against five individuals and the public authority overseeing the facility.

The issues relating to care and management were found to not be just facility based but be prevalent in higher elements of government administration.

The consolidation of aged care watchdog services is a direct recommendation from the review and findings.

The Council on the Ageing has weighed in to comment that these latest federal reforms are a “significant step” towards “better monitoring and enforcement” of aged care compliance and tentatively starting the journey to rebuilding trust within the system.

Mr Wyatt continued by stating, “We’ll also have a serious incident response scheme, which came out of the Australian Law Reform Commission recommendations, so that we protect senior Australians who are vulnerable in facilities.”

Importantly a chief clinical advisor will be brought on board to assist the commission on complex clinical issues including the fraught issue of worker skill level and qualifications.

The advisor will seek to advise on the risk profiling of aged care workers, Mr Wyatt acknowledging that “”What we’ve seen around this country is that … staff who have been trained in a very short timeframe, and who have not had hands-on experience, struggle.”

In an industry where patients have tremendously large barriers to voicing their concerns and protecting themselves, a huge part of the reform will seek to train an eye upon worker training and recruitment.

The taskforce will be up and running come January 1 2019.

By Amy Henderson – HelloCare Journalist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Hi, I have worked in aged care for about 14 years and just retired. In that time I saw some horrific incidents. I also went through stressful times as I constantly spoke up about the treatment of Residents. The answer is not about more staff on the floors if the staff rush everyone off to bed…turn out their lights…give them not options of staying up ……don’t even wait for the table to all finish their meals ….. then all go and sit on their Mobile phones. Residents are too afraid to speak up. RN’s are responsible as supervisors. On most occasions they do not even see that this is not acceptable. They are often friends and family all working together….this gives residents no protection and should not happen. I have worked with whole families on the same floor….they have had a family member in management. This is an on going problem. Also they all go on breaks together leaving the floor with no cover. This is only the tip of the iceberg, for a long time I had an impact on conditions but as I worked less hours I lost any power that I had over the conditions . I was also starting to get bullied by new staff when I tried to speak up. Although I am retired and I often think of the residents and stress that their will be no one standing up for them. I have thought in depth what needs to be changed and it Requires training and supervision. If I can help in any way with information I would be more than happy.

    1. You are absolutely correct Helen! Friends and family are fine as long as Supervisors are supervising and are not related in any shape or form. But I am afraid it is now the norm in our Aged Care Homes and Facilities. It has become a nasty little “Click”. Just a means to and end for these people that are employed. Once when i was working and short of help I went to find assistance and there they were, on their phones and one of them said to me, “You have to know how to play the game”. That is at odds with who I am and my work ethic. But he certainly nailed it! I was shocked to realise over time that most of the people here knew everything about the place before they were even hired!


Baby Maycie Visits Elderly Residents in Nursing Home

Every week Regis Ringwood has a very special visitor, Baby Maycie never fails to brighten the day of the residents.       Read More

Sarcoma awareness: “In another 12 months… I might be able to say I’m still here”

At almost 84 years old, retiree Robin Hatfield is hoping his decision to document his journey with terminal sarcoma will help fuel education and clinical trials of the under-researched type of cancer. Read More

Connect the 40% extends its magic to WA aged care residents

Wishes have come true for some Western Australian aged care residents as a support program and HelloCare’s social impact initiative, Connect the 40%, extends its magic further across the country. Read More