With the airing on Monday (10 September) on ABC’s Four Corners of the first instalment of its two-part series into the treatment of the elderly in aged care homes massive attention has been drawn to the sector. Followed by the announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to call for a Royal Commission into aged care concern is now at a high level.
The sector was quick to condemn the gaps in care the whistle-blowers spoke of in the program. Comments by Pat Sparrow, Aged & Community Services Australia chief executive and Ken Wyatt, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, reflected the dismay felt by the community at stories of neglect and poor care. Mr. Wyatt assured all that these stories “have highlighted the importance of the reform agenda we are implementing to increase the regulatory oversight of Australia’s aged care sector.”
Reading all the articles that have come out since the Four Corners program I was encouraged to read many responses from people assuring that there are good places that care for people appropriately. As an Aged Care Placement Consultant I visit many, many facilities and check them out thoroughly for my clients, I also visit my clients after they have settled in to check everything is to their satisfaction. So, I know the facilities in Victoria very well and I know which ones to recommend to clients. There are some I avoid. Despite the gloomy picture portrayed in the current media stories there are facilities that offer a high level of service and their residents feel safe and content.
I’m glad to report that my clients are very satisfied with the facilities I help them find and I’ve received many wonderful testimonials confirming that. Where there are any problems I advocate on behalf of my clients to resolve them.
I am a member of the Association of Aged Service Professionals (AASP) and this organisation will be submitting feedback on the terms of reference for the Royal Commission. The Association’s hope is that the Royal Commission will weed out those using bad practices. I think the real question is how much funding is needed to provide high quality care for older Australians and where will it come from? It may mean that we pay more for aged care in order to get the quality of care everyone wants. If this is the finding of the Commission and the government acts upon it, all this attention and concern will have a very productive outcome.