Royal Commission into Aged Care begins Monday, January 21, 2019

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has begun in Adelaide.

The initial component of the aged care Royal Commission is set to delve into thousands of allegations against service providers in the industry. Allegations include the abuse, mistreatment and substandard care of the elderly, disabled and mentally ill by those who should have been caring for them.

Each of Australia’s Commonwealth-approved providers were requested to provide a submission outlining any instances where substandard care was delivered and all complaints received since 2013.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is set to probe allegations and uncover system failures in order to determine the full extent of problems within the sector. This will enable government reform to adequately understand and address the challenges and opportunities to improve the quality of aged care services in Australia.

According to the Australian Ageing Agenda, Aged & Community Services Australia CEO, Pat Sparrow was positive towards the inquiry saying, “The aged care sector does not fear scrutiny or accountability,” and that “The nation needs to have a hard conversation about the care we want to provide to older Australians, and what must be done to make that possible.”

The review opportunity into the industry has also been heralded as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ as reported by the ABC News, with Aged Care Crisis advocacy group member Lynda Saltarelli saying “It’s important the commission hears from as many family members as possible,” and that “This is pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a contribution.”

The official Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety website outlines the inquiry will be surrounding the following matters:

The Commissioners were appointed to be a Commission of inquiry, and required and authorised to inquire into the following matters:

  1. the quality of aged care services provided to Australians, the extent to which those services meet the needs of the people accessing them, the extent of substandard care being provided, including mistreatment and all forms of abuse, the causes of any systemic failures, and any actions that should be taken in response;
  2. how best to deliver aged care services to:
    1. people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities, including younger people; and
    2. the increasing number of Australians living with dementia, having regard to the importance of dementia care for the future of aged care services;
  3. the future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services in Australia, including:
    1. in the context of changing demographics and preferences, in particular people’s desire to remain living at home as they age; and
    2. in remote, rural and regional Australia;
  4. what the Australian Government, aged care industry, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen the system of aged care services to ensure that the services provided are of high quality and safe;
  5. how to ensure that aged care services are person‑centred, including through allowing people to exercise greater choice, control and independence in relation to their care, and improving engagement with families and carers on care‑related matters;
  6. how best to deliver aged care services in a sustainable way, including through innovative models of care, increased use of technology, and investment in the aged care workforce and capital infrastructure

While the details likely to be uncovered through the Aged Care Royal Commission are harrowing, the industry itself is not all doom and gloom. Through our experience delivering high quality hands on, practical aged care courses, we see so many real life heroes in the aged care workforce. The industry review is likely to create a superior aged care system to better support the great people already in industry.

There are plenty of dedicated, passionate people in the industry who we work with regularly, in fact, the Aged and Community Services Australia last year launched The Humans of Aged Care platform that is capturing some of the amazing untold stories of the nation’s aged care staff and volunteers who do so much to support the ageing members of our communities and families.

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