The aged care regulator’s latest report reveals a system still mired in problems more than a year after the royal commission’s conclusion, including high rates of unwanted sexual contact, neglect and use of physical force.
Nearly 10,000 reportable incidents occurred in aged care homes in the first three months of 2022, and nearly 1,700 complaints were made to the regulator.
The Aged Care Safety and Quality Commission’s latest Sector Performance Review reveals there were 9,752 incidents reported through the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS), including more than 6,000 for the ‘unreasonable use of force’.
Unreasonable use of force includes squeezing, grabbing, pinching, rough handling, hitting, pushing and forcing someone to move against their will.
It encompasses “alleged, suspected or known incidents” perpetrated by a resident against another resident, acts there previously did not have to be reported.
In the report, the regulator notes that work is “underway” to help aged care providers with “managing residents’ behaviours of concern”.
In a recent update to guidance, the regulator now requires any incident in an aged care home involving unlawful sexual contact to be reported to police.
In another worrying statistic, the report shows there were nearly 1,500 incidences of neglect during the March quarter.
There were 2,767 complaints made to the aged care regulator about aged care services during the March quarter.
There were 1,066 complaints made about home care services, a 21% increase from the previous quarter, when 878 complaints were received.
Home care complaints have been steadily rising over time.
The most complained about issue in residential aged care was personal and oral hygiene with 204 complaints, a 15% increase from the previous quarter when 177 complaints were received for that issue.
The number of complaints about personnel numbers and sufficiency was down slightly but is still the second most complained about problem with 196 complaints.
Medication management remains one of the most troubled issues in aged care, with nearly 200 complaints received in the first three months of the year.
There were 112 complaints about COVID-19 visitor restrictions during the quarter. Council on the Ageing (COTA) has released an updated Industry Code for Visiting in Aged Care Homes to assist with this difficult area of aged care management.