1 April, 2021 – One month on from the release of the Aged Care Royal Commission’s final report, there has been a lack of visible action and political will from our politicians to reform aged care.
Aged Care Reform Now, a people-powered movement of older people and their families with first-hand experience of aged care services, is calling on both the Government and Opposition to take a bi-partisan approach to aged care and make changes now.
Barbara Smith, a 91-year-old member of Aged Care Reform Now, is disappointed by the apparent lack of action and would like some key recommendations adopted sooner rather than later. “We realise that there a number of important social issues that need to be addressed at the moment, but there is a real sense of urgency needed around aged care.
The Royal Commission was very thorough, and it will take time for some recommendations to be adopted, but why can’t some simple, reasonable measures be taken now? Why do we have to wait until July 2024 to have at least one registered nurse on site at all times?* What work is being done to ensure meals in residential care are healthy and attractive?** If there is work being done, we are not hearing about it,” she said.
Dr Sarah Russell, Aged Care Reform Now co-founder echoed Barbara’s comments saying, “Despite all the Aged Care Royal Commission findings, Aged Care Reform Now continues to receive complaints of neglect, negligence, poor complaint handling and sexual assault in aged care services. Some of the recommendations could be implemented today if the government had the will.”
“Let’s not waste the work of the Royal Commission and ignore the hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars spent, the 10,000 plus submissions and hundreds of witnesses. Older people and their families spent time providing feedback about the broken system. Their efforts and needs should not be ignored. Rather they should be rewarded with action – now.
The fact that the Government’s response to the Royal Commission is coming in the Federal Budget in May signals it’s going to be focused on funding, rather than reform. Aged Care deserves its own response and should not be squeezed into one of the many funding issues within a Federal Budget.”
Aged Care Reform Now wants to see meaningful and sustainable improvements in the aged care system – both residential and home care services. The group will maintain pressure on politicians and providers by mobilising its community to share their experiences via the media, its website and other public forums.
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*Recommendation 86.5 In addition, from 1 July 2024, the minimum staff time standard should require at least one registered nurse on site per residential aged care facility at all times.
**Recommendation 19.1.b. imposing appropriate requirements to meet resident nutritional needs and ensure meals are desirable to eat, having regard to a person’s preferences and religious and cultural considerations.
For further information, please visit our website: www.agedcarereformnow.com.au
Dr Sarah Russell
0435 268 357
Journalists/editors please note – Aged Care Reform Now can also assist in providing access to older people and their families who can share their stories.
Please note Aged Care Reform Now is a volunteer organisation. A member of the team will respond as soon as they can.
About Aged Care Reform Now
Aged Care Reform Now is a grassroots group dedicated to improving aged care services in Australia. We advocate for a new aged care system that focuses on transparency, accountability, and effective regulation to ensure the human rights of older people are upheld. Like so many “people-powered” movements, the core group began with a few hard-working and dedicated people “sitting” around a virtual kitchen table. (Most meetings took place via zoom with members in Sydney and Melbourne). The group has been guided and supported by members of a Facebook group started more than five years ago by aged care advocate Dr Sarah Russell. A key External Advisor panel has been established and the team is in the process of creating working groups made up of older people and their families with experience of the aged care system. For more information, go to www.agedcarereformnow.com.au
The Aged Care Reform Now team
The team includes Dr Sarah Russell, Anna Willis, Erietta Sapounakis, Michelle Chaperon, Peter Norden AO, and Barbara Smith. The group also has external advisors with expertise in human rights law, policy, activism and aged care. These external advisors are: Professor Jan Carter AM, Mark Aitken, Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC, and Elizabeth Minter.