Aged Care Reform Now formed a working group to respond to the Department of Health’s proposed new regulatory model for aged care as outlined in A new model for regulating Aged Care | Consultation Paper No. 2 (“Consultation Paper 2”).
The paper was very detailed and we were pleased to see that some of our suggestions from earlier submissions have been acknowledged and incorporated into this updated consultation paper.
Overall, we were mostly pleased with the direction of the reform, however we were concerned that the model was still too provider centric, rather than placing older people in Australia at the front and centre of regulation, which it claimed to do.
We believe there are many unintended consequences that can arise with any type of change. We would therefore ask that the points raised within this submission be noted and passed on within the Department of Health to the relevant project teams to help contribute to the overall reform of the aged care sector. These programs directly and dramatically impact the lives of our members.
Our submission raised the following key points and more:
- Enforcement is critical with penalties introduced. Currently there are perceived little to no consequences for the provider and the sense of injustice causes ongoing trauma for families.
- All workers providing services to older people must be registered, with registration requirements to be written into the New Aged Care Act.
- Responses to complaints need to be within a reasonable timeframe proportionate to the risk to help prevent further harm.
- The World Health Organisation definition of elder abuse needs to be used in all settings (including residential aged care) and be included in the New Aged Care Act.
- Complaints management needs to be overhauled (see our suggestion for a triage system on page 9).
- The complaints handling process should not be closed if the person dies.
- Complaints should be treated on an individual and systemic level.
- The Aged Care Act should have regular revision provisions built in so that it’s able to be reviewed and assessed if it’s fit for purpose at set intervals (every five years).
- Mandatory registration for all workers.
- Risk-based monitoring should still mean that all facilities should have compliance checks at regular intervals, even if they have performed well previously.
You can download our submission below and see all Aged Care Reform Now papers on our submissions page.