The final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is both encouraging and upsetting for the people who currently work, live or receive aged care services.
It is pleasing that the report has a strong focus on delivering care into people’s homes, and this has been acknowledged by government. People want to be supported in the environment of their choosing, wherever possible.
For families, and the staff who have dedicated their lives to the care and support of older people, the stories of neglect are distressing. What is also upsetting is how this portrays a negative image of the important work that they do. It is sad that their efforts are overshadowed by the deplorable acts of a few. We need more people to consider a career in aged care if we are going to meet future demands of an ageing population.
Commissioner Pagone states in the report that in his view, “many providers have been exemplary in prioritising quality care despite restricted financial resources.”
While the recommendations are clear that additional funding is required, this is balanced by significant increases in the reporting of quality indicators, incidents, staffing levels and finances. The Commissioners also recommend prescribing minimum staff time, increased remuneration and minimum qualifications and registration of personal care workers.
It is critical that the adopted recommendations are delivered as a package. If more regulation and compliance is implemented without the requisite funding, we will see further strain on the system and undesirable outcomes.
We can all agree with the common purpose of the proposed new aged care system; to provide quality aged care and support, to enable older people to live an active, self-determined and meaningful life.
It is now ultimately a societal question for all of us as to how this will be achieved. It is time to show we care about aged care.
Sign the petition at https://www.careaboutagedcare.org.au/ in support of the comprehensive reform required; “It’s time to care about aged care”.