Jun 16, 2017

Elder Abuse: New Recommendations For Governments To Protect Older People

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. And this year, a new Australian report was released on this very subject.  

After a 15 month investigation by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), the Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response was presented.

In it was 43 different recommendations of law reform to help protect older people from abuse and protect their autonomy.

Elder abuse can come in many forms, whether it be physical, emotional, it can even be financial abuse where people take advantage of an elderly person’s finances.

ALRC’s recommendations cover abuse experienced at home, in residential care as well as barriers to financial elder abuse through banking, superannuation and wills and estates.

The report, with detailed strategies and priorities for action, is targeted at federal and state governments, requesting that they develop a new national plan to stop elder abuse.  

Approximately one third of the commission’s recommendations revolved around new reforms for residential and community aged care.

One of the recommendations proposed a new benchmark for adequate staffing levels in aged care and that there be a more extensive process in place for screening staff. Something that many advocacy groups and aged care workers have been suggesting for a long time now.  

Another recommendation that was made was to develop a new “serious incident response scheme, which would require approved providers to notify an independent oversight body of any allegations or suspicions of serious incidents and for an investigation to take place.

The ALRC have suggested that the independent oversight body should be the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

The definition of a “serious incident”, particularly in aged care against a resident is;

  • any sort of physical, sexual or financial abuse
  • inappropriate, improper, inhumane or cruel treatment
  • unexplained serious injury
  • neglect

And should it involve and incident between two aged care residents, it means;

  • sexual abuse
  • physical abuse causing serious injury
  • an incident that is part of a pattern of abuse

In home care, a serious incident would include physical, sexual or financial abuse committed by a staff member against the person receiving care.

Another recommendation proposes regulation around the use of restrictive practices in residential aged care facilities stating that they should be the least restrictive and used only as a last resort, after alternative strategies have been considered, to prevent serious physical harm.

It has also been suggested that there be a new independent “senior practitioner” for aged care to provide “expert leadership on and oversight of the use of restrictive practices”, and with that providers should be required to record and report their use of restraints.

ALRC President Professor Rosalind Croucher, who was the Commissioner-in-charge of the inquiry, emphasised the importance of developing recommendations for elder care in the new report, “we have worked to balance the autonomy of older people with providing appropriate protections, respecting the choices that older persons make, but also safeguarding them from abuse”.

 

Leave a Reply

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

Banner Banner
Advertisement

Nursing students to trial living in nursing home

Nursing students at the University of the Sunshine Coast are being given the opportunity to live next door to the campus in a nursing home, and spend time socialising with residents. The students will be given heavily subsidised accommodation and in return they will spend time with the residents at Cooinda Aged Care, sitting and... Read More

Promised Specialist Dementia Care Units: Government Seeks Community Input

The Government is seeking community input on how to best implement planned new Specialist Dementia Care Units (SDCUs) for people living with severe behaviours associated with advanced dementia. Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said the establishment of the units was an election promise and part of the Government’s comprehensive strategy for dementia care and treatment. A... Read More

How to Use Mindfulness Meditation to Slow down the decline of dementia

Research suggests mindfulness meditation may actually help to slow down the mental decline of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Mindfulness, a kind of meditation where one “pays attention on purpose without judgement,” has been a part of religious and spiritual practices for centuries. People who practice Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) have reported health improvements in... Read More
Banner Banner
Advertisement