This cruel and harmful system must be changed.  We owe it to our parents, our grandparents, our partners, our friends.  We owe it to strangers.  We owe it to future generations.  Older people deserve so much more. - Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Interim Report

Background

In September 2018 Four Corners launched a seminal expose into the failings of the Aged care system.

This helped to guide Scott Morrison to recommend a Royal commission into the aged care sector. The Aged care royal commission's interim results have now been submitted.

The Commissioners were appointed to focus on the following key points (as per Terms of reference):

the quality of aged care services provided to Australians
how best to deliver aged care services to:
the future challenges and opportunities for delivering  accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services in Australia
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
how to ensure that aged care services are person‑centred
how best to deliver aged care services in a sustainable way
any matter reasonably incidental to a matter referred to above.

Immediate action

A very troubling summary can be found below from Benjamin Law.

The initial findings are incredibly troubling. The Commissioners identified three areas where immediate action can be taken:

  • to provide more Home Care Packages to reduce the waiting list for higher level 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 a disability going into aged care, and speed up the process of getting out those young people who are already in aged care.

Fundamental reform and redesign

Change for Change
Photo by Kat Yukawa / Unsplash

The Commissioners have released a summary of fundamental changes that need to be implemented to prevent this human rights crisis. They are:

  • the system should be build around relationships of care and not around transactions
  • we need to allow the people receiving care and their loved ones a greater voice
  • we need transparency and ease of access to information to ensure that people can make informed decisions about their care
  • the current regulatory model needs to provide transparency or an incentive to improve
  • the workforce needs to gain key skills and we, as Australians, need to provide them more support to ease the pressure on them

In a series of posts going through the Interim report we will highlight key findings that will affect all Australians. Stay tuned as we start publishing these over the next weeks and months.

Please see our next post in the series 3 steps we can take immediately to improve Australia's aged care system.