The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, has revealed the shocking extent of substandard aged care services in Australia, leading to calls for a “fundamental reform” of the system.
In response to the report, the Government said: “Care and support must be safe and timely and must assist older people to live an active, self-determined and meaningful life in a safe and caring environment that allows for dignified living in old age.”
To achieve this, the government has outlined plans to implement a new Act that is based on human rights as the foundation of a proposed new aged care system. They say this will give older people control of their own care decisions and create enforceable rights and protections for older Australians receiving aged care.
Key recommendations in the report include:
- A focus on professionalising the aged care workforce through changes to education, training, wages, labour conditions, registration, and career progression
- The implementation of a minimum quality and safety standard for staff time in residential aged care, including an appropriate skill mix for each resident, with at least one registered nurse on site at all times
- Greater regulation and measurement of aged care providers to ensure quality and safe care
To support the government's ambitions, $17.7bn was announced to reform the aged care system as part of the Australian Federal Budget (published 11 May 2021). Of this, $229 million is being invested in dementia care.
Dementia Australia’s CEO Maree McCabe said that “elevating the capability and capacity of the workforce will be a key focus of the budget”, with dementia training being implemented throughout the sector.
Strengthening regulation of chemical and physical restraints will also be a main focus, as well as the introduction of a nationally consistent worker screening register and code-of-conduct for all care sector workers.
Australian Human Rights Commission: Statement on the Aged Care Royal Commission report
Budget.Gov: Securing Australia’s Recovery
COTA: Policy Alert: Final Report of Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety: Care, Dignity and Respect
Dementia Australia: Government’s $229m investment will transform dementia care for Australians
Dementia Australia: Our solution to the Royal Commission Report
Department of Health: First legislation in response to the Aged Care Royal Commission