Consumers need easy access to data about the performance of individual aged care facilities so that they can make informed decisions, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
ALA spokesperson and aged care advocate Catherine Henry welcomed this week’s release of a research paper detailing performance against 50 aged care quality and safety indicators by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
“The information released by the Royal Commission was made public for the first time,” Ms Henry said. “We would not accept this lack of transparency in any other setting.
“Older Australians are suffering and at risk in aged care facilities and those caring for them face an uphill battle to provide appropriate care. Families need access to quality performance data so that they can make informed decisions about placement of their elderly relatives.
“The research report shows that accessing the data is possible. To make this information useful for families it needs to be publicly available and narrowed down to individual facilities.
“Families choosing a child care facility can easily go online and check whether the individual facilities in their local area meet, exceed or fail to reach the expected quality standards. In both the UK and the US, this type of quality information about individual aged care facilities is available online with a simple postcode search.
“Similar publicly available information about the performance of aged care facilities in Australia will help to support consumer choice and, importantly, motivate aged care facilities to improve.”
Ms Henry said the report also showed that aged care facilities run by the state and not-for-profit organisations performed better across the indicators than those run by for-profit organisations.
“The privatisation of the aged care sector in 1997 has not worked. It’s a system that was designed by providers for providers. We agree with the recommendation made by Counsel assisting the Royal Commission that it’s time for a new Aged Care Act that embeds quality indicators and better regulation of the sector’s performance.”