Estate Group update: Royal Commission calls for urgent reform in aged care industry

Nov 19, 2019

On 31 October 2019, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety published its scathing interim report, titled ‘Neglect’.

Now ten months into the inquiry, the interim report confirms that the system is failing to meet the needs of elderly people, and moreover, is ‘unkind and uncaring’.

The evidence provided to the Commission by recipients of aged care services, their families and their carers has been harrowing. Commissioners Richard Tracey AM RFD QC and Lynelle Briggs AO commented that the aged care industry was a “sad and shocking system that diminishes Australia as a nation” and urgent reform is required.

Urgent action required

While the final report from the Commission is not due until November 2020, the Commissioners have identified three key areas where urgent action must be taken:

1. Home care packages

    An urgent increase in the number of home care packages available to support older people with complex care needs to stay in their own homes, rather than entering residential care, is required.
    As of June 2019, there were over 72,000 people waiting on a home care package.

2. Regulations around restraints

    Over-reliance on chemical restraint with medications prescribed to treat psychosis or sedatives must be addressed. The Commission recommends the introduction of a Residential Medication Management Review system providing for pharmacists to examine and advise on the use of prescribed medications for aged care residents.

3. Young people with disabilities in residential aged care

    The flow of younger people with a disability entering residential aged care must be stopped, and those already in the system should be relocated to appropriate community living.

The report has highlighted what many in the community already knew; the aged care industry is built around transactions, not relationships or caring. The Commission’s final report is expected to recommend complete overhaul of the system.

Proper advocacy for aged care recipients, their families and carers is essential and can be achieved with the right representation.

If you have concerns about the treatment or needs of a loved one receiving or entering aged care, it is essential that you seek appropriate advice as early as possible to ensure your voice is heard.

Anyone wishing to make a submission to the Royal Commission has until 30 April 2020 to do so.

To read the report in full, click here.

More information

For more information on submissions to the Royal Commission, or for advice in relation to elder law and aged care, please contact our Estate Group on (03) 8600 8885.

Author

This Estate Group update was authored by Hayley Hunter, Senior Associate.

Note: This update is a guide only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

BACK