Sep 16, 2018

PM Announces Royal Commission Into Aged Care Sector

“One of the sets of information I just could not get past was what was occurring in our residential aged care sector”. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today announced that his government will be launching a Royal Commission into the aged care sector.

Speaking to the media early this afternoon, PM Morrison spoke of his government’s growing concern regarding the management of residential aged care services and the quality of care of their residents.

The PM stated, “The work the Government has been doing, the unannounced visits and compliance audits, it has revealed a disturbing trend in what is happening in terms of non-compliance, abuses and failures of care that have been occurring across the sector.”

PM Morrison spoke into the concern as to how entrenched in the system evidences of neglect and mismanagement were, “How widespread is this? Does it touch on the whole sector”

“Until we have answers, Australians will be unsure…as a cabinet we decided it was necessary to move forward with a royal commission into the aged care sector”.

This announcement of a Royal Commission into the aged care sector comes just short of a year since South Australia’s Oakden nursing home was closed.

The instances of neglect and abuse at Oakden were blown by Bob Spriggs’ family after he was given ten times the amount of his prescribed medication and continued to exhibit severe injuries on his body up to and during the time of his death.

The instances of abuse and neglect were not limited to Bob Spriggs’ case.

The state’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander submitted a report damning the state of how many residential aged care facilities were operated.

The interim report stated, “Many subsequent instances of abuse and neglect occurred as a direct result of those with the oversight responsibility not acting earlier.”

Further statements, from both employees and family members, coming out of the Senate inquiry into the Oakden nursing home have spoken of a “toxic” culture of cover up. The Senate has been told that people who could have complained were intimidated.

The Royal Commission is set to investigate the quality of care in both private and government-run residential aged care homes.

The Australian Medical Association’s President, Dr. Tony Bartone stated, “The AMA has long called for reform of the aged care sector,”

“There is a serious lack of resources. There is a serious lack of staff. And there is a serious lack of coordination between all the sectors involved in caring for older Australians.

“We know that this Royal Commission will uncover uncomfortable and distressing stories, and systemic failures.”

While many residential aged care facilities are doing exemplary work in carrying out their duties in utter accordance with standards and going the extra mile, when it comes to caring and protecting for our most vulnerable no measures should be withheld.

Even if there was only one instance of neglect and abuse, it is good, necessary and vital that all involved, from residential aged care home managers, to nurses, doctors, politicians and media come to the table to hear the voices of the most vulnerable and in need.

As Dr Bartone states, “The AMA hopes that the Royal Commission will give victims a voice, and lead to real reform of a sector that has been woefully neglected for decades.”

Arguably it has been a long time coming but now that the Royal Commission is here, it is time to investigate, uncover, listen and drastically set in measures to protect, heal and to care.

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  1. He also needs to look into Deferred management fees in Vic.I have seen elderly people sell their homes in retirement villages an lost a huge chunk to the owner of the village and then lost a big chunk to the home.These people have saved and worked all their lives so they have some protection in their declining years.People that own the villages are just taking a grab because the next generation will have nothing.

  2. The comments of the Prime Minister-
    The PM stated, “The work the Government has been doing, the unannounced visits and compliance audits, it has revealed a disturbing trend in what is happening in terms of non-compliance, abuses and failures of care that have been occurring across the sector.

    Well Prime Minister The Department Of Health (Ageing) has been told/informed about these non-compliance and abuses for many years.

    THE REAL PROBLEM IS THE DEPARTMENT, who has failed to honestly tell a number of Ministers about the truth situation

  3. This is the best news I’ve heard from government for a long time. It’s a long time coming. We must be very careful, this exposure will be disturbing to most.

  4. As our Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces the Royal Commission into the Aged Care Sector today it brings about a whole bag of mixed emotions . It brings the opportunity for unheard voices with the hope and focus on positive change coming . It will re-ignite fear, concern and anger from so many including victims, carers, staff , organisations and many others . This growing concern and issue has been erupting for a long period. I have seen and witnessed it myself . In roles as a professional, volunteer, advocate and carer for ageing parents.
    As this commission unfolds it needs to support,respect and take the time to hear the voices of all involved in a caring and compassionate and respectful
    manner. To enable voices takes a combined effort and time , with the right people involved. Recognising and understanding that fears are real . Concerns of repercussions , feelings of shame and embarrassment , trauma and a sense of disempowerment and hopelessness. Our current system has been seen as failing, unsupportive and given a sense of nowhere to go. The Royal Commission into Aged Care needs to look at the whole picture. Residential Care , Home and Community Services ,Hospitals, Guardianship’s, NDIS , younger on- set dementia etc .The Recommendations into the Royal Commission Into Law Reforms on Elder Abuse Report was launched in 2016 at WEAAD (World Elder Abuse Awareness Day). We need
    to connect all past and present work to have a combined work strategy that is inclusive of all. “We do it best and achieve better outcomes when we all work together”. What is currently happening within our Aged Care Sectre is everyone’s responsibility and part of everyone’s future . Also very sadly we seem to have to go through this awful pain to enable change . My plee is can we all recognise everyone’s pain no matter how great or small it is from every position (organisation, victim and carer) and work together through it with respect . Health Consumer Representative /Advocate for Older People

  5. The only other comment I missed was “Valdiation” . We need to enable validation of people’s experiences . Validation is such an important part of this whole process. Dismal and lack of recognition or acknowledgment of someone’s personal experience causes more harm, confusion and anger .

  6. The unbelievable angst and suffering of carers and their loved ones will now hopefully come to light. We need ratios + better training + continuation of the spot checks + a review of the Aged Care Act to define ‘adequate staffing’ + a review of the Guardianship Act to make it compulsory for there to be two Guardians and POA and for the POA to not also be the Guardian. Reviewing the Guardianship Act will stop the financial and emotional abuse of older Australians. The primary driver in the neglect and abuse of older people is money and if there can be tighter safeguards on this things will get better.

  7. I am all for a Royal Commission into the aged care
    system. However Staff skill mix should also be looked at, as this impacts on the quality of care delivered.
    The workload is forever increasing while not increasing an appropriate skill mix..
    As an RN who has been in Aged Care for at least 34 Yes, I am burnt out and just don’t know how I can continue.
    I regularly go home 1 _ 2 hours late due to the impossible workload and the unplanned incidents e.g falls, clinical episodes etc The paper work goes on and on.
    I am a strong easy going person, yet I feel so depressed at work and at times feel like crying when I just cant get the workload done. Just when I think I am on top of if all, someone has a fall, someone feels sick, a relative needs to talk to me, someone rings in sick and I need to replace them, someone needs pain relief and sometimes pain relief that requires 2 nurses to check and I have to wait for a nurse from another floor.
    I can be the only RN on in charge of 120 in one place and in another place of 200 be the senior RN with 1_ 2 junior RNs We desperately need safe ratios so we can not only give the care that they deserve but so we look after staffs wellbeing.

  8. I manage an aged care home and have done for many years. When the ACFI ( funding tool ) was introduced, we thought we were going to get adequate funding, but the government did its sums wrong and now is ripping millions away. We have lost &270,000 this year alone and for the first time in 15 years, we as a not for profit organisation, have lost money. We have never asked for loans and have funded all our improvements ourselves. If we can only just manage with no GST and payroll tax to pay, then it is no wonder some organisations feel the need to cut costs like staffing. Put in ratios so the for profits have to have adequate numbers and then fund it properly. Too much paperwork to prove everything we do, and too little funding. to do it properly and have sufficient number of staff. Hospitals get 4 times as much money per day to look after their patients , but we are expecting PACs to do the job of registered nurses, so no wonder, there will be incidents where through lack of numbers and lack of training, they elderly are not being cared for as they deserve.

  9. I am so glad that the Royal Commission into the aged care is happening after what my family had to injure at Oakden for 3 years , i hope that things will be improved with training of staff and more staff and better food, and better treatment of residents.

  10. Our prisoners get much better food, free medical, dental, and mental health care. They also get free education/training and counseling to assist in the reduction of reoffending. Our elderly and disadvantaged should be entitled to better food, free medical, dental, mental health etc also. It is disgusting to know that paedophiles, rapists and murderers get better treatment than our elderly. And our elderly have to pay for the care they receive whilst criminals get it all for free…
    I might have to encourage my parents to break the law so they end up in a better facility with all the care they need, instead of an aged care facility.

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