The preliminary hearings for the Royal Commission into aged care commenced on 18 January 2019.
There was a call for submissions regarding:
- The quality of aged care services being delivered;
- The main challenges and how they could be overcome when delivering aged care services generally, and in particular to:
- people with disability or dementia; and
- people who wish to remain living at home, or who are in remote, rural or regional areas;
- The main challenges and how the quality of end of life care could be improved;
- What best practice for delivering aged care services should be; and
- What recommendations people would like to see come out of this Royal Commission.
Anyone can make a submission, either publicly or anonymously. Although the Royal Commission’s powers are limited to making enquiries and recommendations, not resolving disputes, the recommendations that come from the Royal Commission will affect the way in which private aged care services are delivered.
Aged Care, Staff Ratios and the Royal Commission
Author and Executive member of Aged Care Matters, Dr Sarah Russell, published an article in this week’s Herald Sun regarding the state of the aged care sector and the Royal Commission. Read the article here.
“To prevent poor standards in aged care homes, enough trained staff must be employed. The government values the safety of children in childcare and patients in hospitals enough to mandate ratios. So why not in aged care homes?
The terms of reference for the royal commission are primarily about the future of aged care. But if the commission does not look back, it will not be able to move forward without making the same mistakes.”
Dr Russell’s concerns about staffing ratios in aged care are mirrored by Principal Catherine Henry, who has consistently advocated for mandated ratios in the sector. In a previous article featured in the Newcastle Herald, Ms Henry writes “Ultimately, the quality of aged care comes down to staffing. Numerous international studies demonstrate a clear link between mandatory staff ratios and good quality residential care. Yet providers are currently making staffing decisions without recourse to any regulatory standards.” Find more from Catherine Henry on the topic of aged care, including this article, on our in the news page.
In her article, Catherine Henry also notes that while many people may experience adequate care, there are still numerous horror stories. A recent ABC 7.30 segment ‘Video reveals an elderly man tied to a chair in a nursing home‘ exposes one such horror story, highlighting the shocking results of the lack of legislation surrounding the physical and chemical restraint of the elderly in Australia, an issue that may be brought to the forefront of the Royal Commission.
This call for submissions and the preliminary hearing will set the tone for how the Royal Commission will proceed. We will keep you updated as the Royal Commission progresses.