Jun 16, 2022

New data suggests aged care still plagued by problems even after the royal commission

New data uncovers the shocking extent of problems plaguing aged care

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.

Home care complaints up more than 20%

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.

Personal hygiene the most complained about issue in aged care

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.

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  1. I hate that our residents are still being treated poorly. How many cases are residents hit staff.

  2. There would be a lot more complaints raised if not for COVID. Under the pretence of COVID a provider has cancelled monthly meeting between residents/family reps and management. Also a policy made by the same provider that complaints were not to be raised at these meetings but could be done by raising it through to management directly. This led to harassment and intimidation towards the complainant by managers. “Residents are too scared to report”
    An occasional meeting might be held in small groups with hand picked residents. NO Minutes taken or sent out to residents.

    Neglect and abuse reported goes no ware. Covered Up with no feedback to family etc.

  3. Regulator – this is the root of the problems in Residential Aged Care Facilities.
    Raelene A – CCTV would provide evidence and statistics regarding all. South Australia has/was looking into this.
    Gregory – Neglect & abuse is rife and out of control.
    With all due respect.

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