Mar 01, 2021

Royal commissioners split on future direction of aged care

RC aged care

The royal commissioners failed to reach an agreement on the best way to structure and fund Australia’s aged care system and instead have put forward a range of recommendations that were not unanimously agreed upon.

The report, which is expected to be released today, contains a range of recommendations including having higher taxes or greater reliance on user-pays contributions to fund aged care services, according to reports in The Australian.

There are more than 100 recommendations in the report that the commissioners did agree on, however, a series of additional recommendations were not agreed upon by both commissioners Lynelle Briggs and Tony Pagone QC.

Commissioner Briggs is believed to be of the view that the government should retain centralised ­administrative control of the aged care sector, however, it is understood that commissioner Pagone was of the view an independent agency should be established outside the Health Department to administer aged care, considering the fact that successive governments have failed to manage it properly.

The Australian has also reported that the commissioners could not agree on the future funding of aged care, on whether the sector should be funded on the principle of universal health care or a user-pays system.

“Monumental” report

In a press conference yesterday, Health Minister Greg Hunt said the eight-volume report will be released “very shortly”.

Uncertainty about the way forward

The royal commission has been holding hearings into the sector for two years. Initially launched by Scott Morrison in 2018, it now appears it won’t leave him without a clear path forward.

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  1. Rather a sad outcome, it is a shame that people in old age cannot look forward to being looked after safely and professionally. Surely it is not that difficult.

  2. It all gets down to the money doesn’t it! Its supposed to be about care of the elderly, also the matter or staffing has to be fairer to everyone i.e. the resident and the staff! That comes first!
    You commissioners aren’t far from wearing all the present day residents shoes, so get your act together and figure it out….this has been 40 plus years in the making. Its about time decisions were made in the interest of residents, not the money!
    The commissioners have got down to two different modes. Split it so that residents have to contribute via their pension and tax the rest of us. Up the Medicare levy or up the GST that way everyone pays something…we are all mainly going to get old, so lets share it!

    1. I am in agreement with you Carolyn. Up the Medicare system for us all as we will all be needing care one day. Why not have a Golden Casket like Joh Bjelke Petersen had yrs ago. It paid for our QLD public hospitals!! Why not have a lottery similar for aged care? Everyone would be a winner then! My husband said to me recently that AINs are seen as the lowest of the low! “Is that how you see me?”I said.I got my back up but eventually understood where he was coming from. 1st.. they hire anyone. Anyone that is desperate for work and anyone that has a visa with very little professional training as I and other AINs have been witness to. Doesn’t matter if they can hardly communicate with staff or the residents. They dump new and very young foreign AINs on dementia specific wards who are often scared they have told me, as often they work alone on a ward of 10 or more especially over night! Some residents on these wards are aggressive and have been violent towards staff and residents. So there you are. Our wages and conditions reflect what governments and society believe what our worth in $$ is. Needs basis has its merits but the reality of aged care is so much more. Independent residents are still to be assisted with showering and dressing in most cases and then we have the wanderers that go into other residents rooms or absconders. Then there are the residents that often have dementia all over the facility that need you assistance all day and night. These are not the palliative or the ones with the stoma bags that need emptying all night and day that the AINs have taken on from the RNs as well as as Medication. I want to be recognized for all I do and I truly believe that all AINs deserve to be rewarded with a decent pay rate and more staff for all those double assist and triple assist and violent and abusive and beautiful and sweet and loving vulnerable residents in all Aged Care facilities. Nobody in their right mind would do this work if they were aware of all this. I had this idea when I first started that it would be a wonderful respected career looking after our elderly. I was running on adrenaline leaving the family to work in aged care and Coming home to children that were all at school after an exhausting night shift. I didn’t feel valued as a stay at home mum and took the leap!! I don’t completely regret my choice as I have been the best carer I can be and more and have met some wonderful friends. I just don’t feel valued in my place of work as well.

      1. I worked in a nursing home as a AIN for 19yrs and 15 yrs of nightshift. Management don’t care who they get to fill positions vacant as long as its someone. Many a night you wouldn’t get to have a break off the floor. There was 2 nurses for
        32 residents up the top, 1 nurse for 28 and 1 nurse for 20 in hostel and 1 RN. I no longer work there due to health reasons but I’m glad i don’t as its gotten worse i have been told

      2. Its true nursing homes only care about making money out of the most vulnerable. Which is so wrong. They need to have more staff on afternoon shift and nightshift. I always use to say i hope i don’t have to get all these people out if there is a fire especially on nightshift as you never would for 81 residents and only 4 nurses and 1 RN. I no longer work in a nursing home due to health reasons

  3. Oh dear seriously…does that mean the whole Royal Commission is going to be another expensive waste of time and money? It is still the same discussion about funding that has been going on for more that 30 years.

  4. If the experts can’t agree the government will use that as an excuse to do nothing & continue to allow facility owners to get away with neglecting residents.

  5. Doesnt matter how aged care is funded. The issue is how care is given in a safe manner while profit model is in place. Audits reconnise gaps, but that is not enough. When are goverments going to understand that the current model doesnt work. A hole new model of care is required

  6. It will be interesting how the federal liberal government will answer the Royal Commission. Despite the commissioners disagreement on how funds are raised to make residential care sustainable they do agree that the sector is grossly underfunded and action needs to be taken. Despite the liberals, it will be interesting to see what the opposition puts forward as to how they would remedy the problem.
    The last thing the sector needs is another regulatory body to further govern the industry, millions of dollars has been spent expanding the current regulatory framework and an additional body would simply duplicate work and confusion.

    Will the government, that caused the underfunding which brought about much belt tightening since 2015 now act? If they do aren’t they acknowledging that their cuts have contributed to the incidents of neglect and if they don’t aren’t they leaving the sector and its residents in peril?
    It is my view that the residential care sector should be seeking damages for the financial losses since treasurer Morrison took his axe to the sector. His actions have seen hard working self funded retirees lose their investment and nest egg and this was a callous and known result of the government cuts.
    Will we see immediate action on residential care (I have to keep saying residential care because the liberals deliberately mislead the public when they speak of “aged care”. Aged care encompasses home care, residential care, the Royal Commission and the funding of various government departments etc etc) or will we see Labor put the pressure on?
    Despite where care is funded from their is little argument that an increase is urgently required.

  7. What a cop out, as I expected it might be. Two years in the making? Hoping there is actually SOMETHING to cling to for positive changes to this deplorable situation 😬

  8. Caroline, I enjoy reading HelloCare.

    How ironic that The Royal Commissioners CANNOT agree on an outcome for our aged care residents.

    I wrote to you about my darling 100 year old mother – who died from neglect in March 2020 during COVID lock out.

    Where is our justice……..

  9. It’s not so much about the money, it’s more about delivering the care our lovely residents deserve! We are all, sick and tied of going home physically and mentally exhausted, with no support or been listened too. So these politicians had better remember we all get old, including their family and friends. Staff ratios, employing people who truly want to work in Agecare, would go a long way to helping. Thankyou for listening!

  10. My husband is in aged care aged 67 with Early Onset Alzheimers. I am hoping this Royal Commission addresses the fact that more evening & night staff is required. One carer at night is insufficient. Most aged care deaths occur at night & residents should not be classed as incontinent & assumed that if staff don’t get there in a reasonable time it is OK because they wear incontinence pads. Very demeaning & embarrassing when not incontinent. Also those who require a lifter need larger rooms & leave the residents with some dignity. Thankyou.

  11. Even if it was made user pays for those who could afford it would not change the quality of care. Set ratios and increase pay scales is the only solution to quality care.

    1. Well said. My father pays a freaking fortune and the problem is the same regardless of what you pay. There is simply not enough staff. They cop the brunt of complaints and management simply shrug their shoulders and continue with their day. It’s a sad day even though the evidence is in their faces.

  12. So it looks like nothing will change much. And I knew it would take years to implement. Yep 5 years guys! It is not like a pandemic where the money was found straight away to fund businesses and the unemployed! Another 5 yrs to hear the same stuff we are already doing. On a needs basis! Better training. That’s it guys. The companies we work for will probably benefit financially but not the workers let alone the elderly due to more hand outs. Forget ratios as aged care facilities will take the government money and refurbish their facilities before paying better wages and God for bid hiring more staff! Nobody cares about the staff and that is reflected in the disgusting pay rates for AINs and the lack of proper ratio to resident care. They pick and choose how many staff they want to work each fortnight and for how long they work to save money. Our place is falling apart with air-conditioners not working and taps not working efficiently. Cold shower taps that spew out boiling water for 3 mins before they turn cold. We have staff recognition boards that reflect how bad the system is by thanking all the staff who stayed back or did double shifts or AINs working in the laundry or kitchen all this when they cut hours and no proper ratios! The staff are unhappy as they need other jobs to pay their bills and are over worked they say to me and they have mentioned the reason there are so many sickies is exhaustion, so staff feel the need to take sick days off because they know they will be working like dogs and expected to do the Medication as well as all other cares with constant interruption while doing the mess round contributing to mistakes. And the cycle continues. I’ll be gone before any government supports the workers to support the elderly. Had enough!

  13. The biggest mistake was allowing the “for profit” sector in to the Aged Care ‘market place’. The second biggest mistake is not making ALL providers open all their books at the end of the financial year.
    Ultimately, it’s all about the $, not the residents.

  14. And so it goes on, everyone is hoping for staff ratio’s, I do not hold out any hope for any change. Just more work.

  15. Yes this is and should be about Aged Care! Its the simple two words, AGED CARE!
    Not Organisations and their empire building, when they scream out , we need more money.
    Lets start at the top, that answers one question. go and spend a shift with a care worker, experience whats involved for a day, then go away and plan your business model/rosters.

    Care staff hours/staffing levels should be mandated, depending on care assistance required.
    Better Education/Training = Better Care
    Happy People = Healthy People
    Reporting Abuse, Neglect, Medication errors.
    Staff must be protected when reporting incidence, NOT Intimidated by, as they say “Don,t Rock the Boat”

    As for the Aged Care Quality audits, it has changed some what and it needed to, a very cozy relationship with some providers in the past?. They must become more transparent to the public.
    Unions need to be more pro-active, to stand up for their members, and not so much the organisations that employ them.

  16. What a waste of money the on Commission. They simply had to ask the staff of facilities on recommendations for their work environment. First recommendation: appropriate staffing levels for safety for residents and staff. Second: stop wasting money on high paid management. Use the money for equipment, on the floor staff and providing optimal care for the residents. It is not freaking rocket science.

  17. Again all about money!! We don’t need more money to support more as well I’m sure. Again not what is best for the patient. Be all about who we can give more jobs to and more money.


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