Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety interim report

QDN commends the release of the Royal Commission’s Interim Report into Aged Care Quality and Safety on 31 October 2019.  The report reflects what members have told QDN over many years – aged care providers are falling short of delivering safe, high quality aged care and clients have historically been experiencing neglect, abuse, mismanagement and under resourcing.

The report states that in a single year an estimated 16,000 people died waiting for Home Care Packages, something QDN members over 65 are also very aware about, given they currently have little or no assistance and need urgent support to remain living in the community. This situation needs urgent addressing.

QDN recommends:

  • An urgent and targeted increase in funding from the Australian Government of Aged Care packages that ensure the timely delivery of services to people with disability who are ineligible for the NDIS.
  • Additional resources over and above the standard aged care packages to meet people’s specific disability-related supports so they can continue to live in their own homes in the community and access their communities.
  • Transparency and overhaul in communication, reporting and accountability in relation to the provision of aged care services.
  • An urgent and targeted strategy for younger people in residential aged care to be linked to the NDIS and have opportunities to transition out of aged care into aged appropriate housing

QDN will continue to lobby on these issues with the Australian government and allies and ensure the voices of our members receiving aged care services are heard.

In summary, the report describes:

  • An aged care system that is fragmented, unsupported and underfunded – a ‘cruel and harmful’ system that needs to be changed
  • High incidences of assault by staff towards residents and residents towards residents
  • Common use of physical restraints on residents to make residents easier to manage
  • Poor food, nutrition and hydration
  • Endemic problems that older people and their families have trying to access aged care services
  • The disheartened nature of residential care
  • Underpaid and undervalued staff
  • The isolation of young people with disability in residential aged care facilities

There are around 6,000 Australians with a disability, who are under 65, who live in residential aged care facilities. The Royal Commissioner Lynelle Briggs called this a ‘national disgrace’.

The Interim Report Commissioners have identified three areas which require immediate action:

  • to provide more Home Care Packages to reduce the waiting list for high care at home
  • to respond to the significant over reliance on chemical restraint in aged care, including through the seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement
  • to stop the flow of younger people with disability going into aged care and speeding up getting those younger people who are already in aged care out.

QDN is also pleased the report recommends immediate action to stop younger people with disability going into aged care, and to speed up the process for getting them out of aged care.  It is unacceptable for younger people in residential aged care to have to wait until up to 2025 to move to age appropriate accommodation.

QDN is making a submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and are asking members to provide feedback which will be included on our submission. We want to better understand the lived experience of members who are accessing aged care. Please contact QDN on 1300 363 783 or email us at qdn@qdn.org.au if you are willing to share your experiences.

QDN also encourages members to make their own submissions to the Royal Commission and will support them with the information required to make a submission. Click here for information on how submissions can be made.

The Royal Commission was granted an extension to enable it to undertake further hearings, to accept more submissions and to develop a set of recommendations.  The Final Report will now be delivered on 12 November 2020.

We will continue to keep you informed and will provide further information about how you can contribute to QDN’s submission shortly.

Click here to read the interim report.

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