Welcome

 

Have your say on aged care-extrawide.png

This site has been set up for older and infirm Australians, their families, carers and friends – as well as those working in this sector – to share their experiences ahead of the Federal Government’s next moves on aged care regulation.

Your input will be invaluable as a way to let Canberra publicly know what the issues are at the coalface. You will be helping us show policymakers and politicians what really needs to be addressed.

If you browse through each of the site’s sections, you will get a feel for some of the issues raised by others. Each page has a conversation-starter and usually at least one link to a news story, report or other relevant information. Just click on the link above to have Your Say on Aged Care in Australia.

We invite negative and positive insights about residential, in-home or community aged care that you or a loved one has experienced. We also welcome input from those tasked with providing that care.

NOTE: Please read the Submission instructions before contributing.

This website is an initiative of Older People Speak Out, an all-volunteer group of retired and semi-retired professionals who advocate on behalf of Australians aged over 50 years. We are an independent, free-spirited group with the experience, knowledge and qualifications to speak out on older people’s issues without fear or favour. OPSO has been going strong for 25+ years and you can find out more about us at opso.com.au, where you can become a member for just $10 a year.

UPDATE: Now that a Royal Commission has been called into Aged Care, Older People Speak Out will be making a submission that includes the posts on this site.

A drain on the budget for aged care

Don’t get me started! MyAgedCare is like Medicare … it’s draining the budget for aged care to the detriment of senior citizens, who have paid a lifetime of taxes to have their lives put though humiliating hoops, with no hope of receiving the services assessed by ACAT.

Priyabill
Adelaide South

Improvement needed throughout process

Aged care assessments

We had an ACAT done for my father and then when we required additional services. A second service provider called on us and we had to go through everything again, distressing to my father, and the 2 ACAT documents caused confusion.

There should be one document and, if another service provider is brought into the mix, the previous document should be continued with. It would be preferable to deal with one service provider, rather than two. Continue reading

Litany of issues with aged care ratios

I have a long paper trail of issues dealing with residential aged care and the lack of staff. I have heard recently that the government is asking for ratios to be accounted for in facilities. It is a huge problem, especially in the aged care industry.

The facility that I am dealing with never seems to have enough staff. I am finding that, during the time I spend with my husband at the facility, I am left to do things for him that are the staff’s responsibility. Continue reading

Why not pay families to care?

I care for my mum who is 99 years of age. I was assessed and rejected for a carer’s payment. I only receive a carers allowance from the Government.

Yet my mum can get services from an aged care provider who charge us a fee of $95-110 for a home visit from a physio for (a visit of) under half hour, plus an administration fee of $300 to maintain my mum’s file. Continue reading

Not what was promised

We received a call from our mother’s aged care facility around breakfast time one Friday that she was on her way to hospital after having breathing difficulties overnight. She passed away late the next day, in early November 2016. The emergency department doctors said the likely cause of her admission to hospital the day prior was “aspiration pneumonia”. (This condition occurs when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit is breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs, instead of being swallowed into the oesophagus and stomach.) Continue reading

In-home and community care

P-in-home-Older-lady-in-motorised-wheelchair

Many hundreds of thousands of older and infirm Australians elect to receive in-home and/or community care in preference to moving to an aged care facility, in part because it gives them more freedom.

If you or your loved one/s are in this situation – or you provide care in the community – we invite you to explore and contribute your observations and ideas in this section of the Your Say on Aged Care website.

If you or a loved one has been in an aged care facility – or you have worked in one – we invite you to explore this section and have Your Say on in-home and community care in general or via any of the following sub-topics:

Care recipients’ rights and responsibilities
Medication management
Meals (including fluids)
Communication challenges
Companionship
Personal care
→  Hygiene, sanitation
Personal safety & security

→  Financial abuse
→  Falls, physical harm, abuse
→  End-of-life and palliative care
→  Dying at home
Accessing home-care packages

Have your say on aged care-2

Residential aged care

P-Aged-care-Gull-in-full-flight-over-golden-water-

With scandals such as that at a South Australian aged care facility for dementia patients – and more recently at multiple Queensland aged care facilities – where several deaths were caused by improper care, the sector has increasingly been under the spotlight.

The first report notes that five people associated with the now-closed South Australian facility were the subject of adverse findings of maladministration: the nursing director, the service manager, one doctor, a nurse and a health department official.

An official inquiry found there had been failures in clinical governance, incidents of rough handling of patients, excessive use of restraints and a high level of injuries.

Astonishingly, the inquiry found that “senior people, including some ministers and chief executive, who were responsible by virtue of their office for the delivery of care and services to the consumers, should have known what was going on but did not”.

Not all care shortfalls in aged care facilities have fatal outcomes. Nevertheless, many have serious consequences for the residents and their families.

Conversation starter

If you or a loved one has been in an aged care facility – or you have worked in one – we invite you to explore and have Your Say and explore any of the following sub-topics in this section of the website:

Aged care residents’ rights and responsibilities
Medication management
Clinical care
Resident meals (including fluids)
Communication
Companionship
Personal care
Hygiene, sanitation
Personal safety and security
Property loss or damage
Financial abuse
Falls, physical harm, abuse
End-of-life and palliative care
Deaths
Staffing in residential aged care

Staff:resident ratios
→ Training
Off-loading to hospitals

Have your say on aged care-2

Privacy statement

P-Privacy-deserted-beach

Older People Speak Out (OPSO) – the publishers of the Your Say On Aged Care website – will only collect, store, use, disclose and destroy personal contact information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

Schedule 1 to the Privacy Act 1988 contains the Australian Privacy Principles which regulate the way in which organisations such as OPSO can collect and use personal information.

The Your Say On Aged Care Privacy Policy below sets out the way in which OPSO complies with these principles.

Privacy Policy

Any time you complete a submission to the Your Say On Aged Care website – via the provided online or downloaded form – you will be prompted to provide personal and contact information.

Whether submitting on your own behalf, or on behalf of another individual who no longer has the access, ability or capacity, you will be required to provide personal and contact information relating to you as well as any individual/s for whom you may be acting.

Personal and contact details will be kept confidential, unless – in specific cases – you otherwise direct or grant permission for its release.

This personal and contact information may be used by OPSO to clarify or verify details provided.

Personal information will not be shared with a third party unless it is lawfully requested or there is an immediate risk to one or more individuals.

On the form, you will be given the option to receive communication from OPSO in the future and invited to become a member. You may accept or decline either offer.

In line with legislative requirements, OPSO will not use your details for communication unrelated to the Your Say On Aged Care project without your express permission.

OPSO will only use information you provide to external parties where such use is lawful.

If accidental or unauthorised use – or disclosure – occurs, OPSO will act quickly to rectify and remedy the situation.

All reasonable steps will be taken by OPSO to protect your personal and contact information from misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification or improper disclosure.

  • All paper files will be secured in locked cabinets
  • All information stored electronically can only be accessed by authorised OPSO personnel who have been apprised of their obligations under the Privacy Act
  • Our computer systems and databases are protected via firewalls, intrusion detection and other technologies.

Your personal information and contact details will be retained separately – for the duration of this project – from the descriptive content you provide that may be used for publishing online.

With any content you submit that is intended for publication, you may elect to remain anonymous or to use one or more suitable pseudonyms, however, you will be required to indicate the region from which the post is being made. This detail will be included with your published content.

At any time, you may request to access personal information held by OPSO about you or the person/s for whom you are acting and you may request correction of any inaccurate details.

The lifespan of the Your Say On Aged Care website is intended to be limited, with its closure likely to be at the end of 2018, unless otherwise required or notified.

At the time of the website’s closure, all personal information provided will be destroyed unless you have given permission for your details to be used for other purposes (such as receipt of OPSO emails or requested OPSO membership).

Your say on aged care form

PLEASE READ BEFORE COMPLETING FORM FIELDS:

      • This form comes in two sections
        • Fields 1-10 contain contact information that
          will not be published without your prior permission
        • Fields 11-15 contain information that you give
          permission to be reviewed, edited if necessary, and published
      • All required fields must be completed before you submit
      • Before completing the form below, please read the site’s Submission instructions
      • Reminder – information provided for publication may be edited
      • SPECIAL NOTE: Should you need to complete the details off-line,
        please download the form here and mail your completed form to:
    • Your Say on Aged Care
      c/- OPSO
      PO Box 1037
      Mt Gravatt Qld 4122.

      YOUR SAY ON AGED CARE FORM

 

Disclaimer

P-Dawn

The information contained in this website is for information and information-sharing purposes only.

This information is provided by OPSO and by those who contribute via its
Your Say on Aged Care Submission form.

While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on any linked website.

Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or funds arising out of, or in connection with, use of this website.

Through this website, you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of OPSO.

We have no control over the nature, content or availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.

Every effort is made to keep the Your Say on Aged Care website up and running smoothly. However, OPSO takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our control.

Copyright

P-helping-hand

© Older People Speak Out 2018

While OPSO is the author of this website, it is immediately placing its textual content in the public domain.

Text from this site may be reproduced, with proper acknowledgment of the source, viz., Your Say on Aged Care website (yoursayonagedcare.com.au).

However, the copyright on images and illustrations on this site remains with the photographer and may not be reproduced without written permission which can be requested by contacting him via email.

Credits

P-credits-RTC

Credits

Web builder:     Trina McLellan

A friend of Older People Speak Out (OPSO) since it was formed more than two decades ago, Trina McLellan is a journalist/editor, communicator, researcher and educator who many years earlier had been a university student of OPSO’s founder, Val French OAM. Since OPSO began, Trina has assisted from time to time with the organisation’s media awards and training events and has provided occasional advice to its committees. OPSO has contracted Trina for the build, maintenance and promotion of this website.

Photography:    Richard (Tommy) Campion

copyright-RTC-in-the-shallowsOlder People Speak Out would particularly like to acknowledge the generous permission granted by retired Gold Coast news photographer, Richard (Tommy) Campion (pictured) for the use of his stunning photographs that feature throughout this website.

One of many children who were bullied and abused in a church orphanage in his early life, Tommy has more recently been a magnificent champion for others – like himself – who bravely gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.

Tommy continues to seek justice for himself and for others,, many of whom are now themselves in their advancing years.

Through all that, he continues to take many wonderful photographs each day, regardless of where in the world he might be. When asked whether he could help with this project, his immediate reply was that OPSO were welcome to use his images for this website.

Related publicity

P-Media-at-work-silhouetted-in-golden-sunrise

Residential care

Understaffing/Ratios

Medication management

Communication

Personal care

Falls prevention

Dementia care

Meals

Mobile services

Intrusions/privacy

Abuse (bullying/assault/financial)

Companionship

Respite services

Deaths

Homelessness

In-home services 

Making a complaint

Costs

Policy and services

NDIS

Resources

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Foundation

Have your say on aged care-2

ABC special investigation into nursing homes

P-ABC_dude-on-a-harley

Over the course of the past year, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has been at the forefront of uncovering what is happening in aged care across the country.

In April, the ABC began a special investigation into the residential aged care industry via an online survey, from which they will doubtless gather insights and build more valuable coverage.

OPSO encourages you to fill out that survey, in addition to any contribution to this site that you care to make because the more voices are heard – and the more sources of those voices – the more lawmakers will not only be forced to sit up and listen but also be pressured to activate reforms.

SPECIAL NOTE: You can watch the results of this in-depth investigation on ABC TV on Monday, September 17, and Monday, September 24, in a two-part special that will be aired at 8.30pm AEST. If you miss these special programs, you may be able to watch them later on iView. You can also see the ABC’s growing collection of news stories relating to aged care online.

Let’s drive some constructive change!

Have your say on aged care-2

Dementia advice and carer resources

P-carers-Rising-moon-with-ring-of-colour

Dementia advice and information

Caring for someone with dementia can be complicated, uncertain and sometimes lonely, especially in the early days.

Dementia Australia (formerly Alzheimer’s Australia) publishes this helpful online portal for carers of people with dementia.

It features advice, links to support services, education materials, help sheets and other resources as well as a definition of dementia, its symptoms, causes and memory loss.

The organisation also has a National Dementia Helpline (1800 100 500).

It also offers specific, State-based information and services (select your state from the left-hand navigation panel).

Resources for carers

Carers who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged often need information and advice.

Carers Australia is the peak body representing Australia’s carers. It advocates on behalf of carers to influence policies and services at a national level.

It also serves the carers of older and infirm Australians as well as providing support for younger carers and those who care for people from Indigenous as well as culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Working through its state and territory associations, Carers Australia also provides a wide range of counselling, advice, information and registration services. These include:

It also provides helpful assistance with navigating the NDIS.

Carers Australia runs a 24/7 helpline – 1800 242 636 – and works collaboratively with partners and its member organisations, its network of state and territory Carers Associations, to deliver a range of essential national carer services.

Have your say on aged care-2

Where to register complaints about aged care

P-hearing-eclectus-parrot-on-blokes-shoulder

All approved aged care providers – residential, community and in-home – should inform care recipients of their rights as well as the ways to lodge complaints.

The first port of call should be the provider. However, if complaints are not being dealt with at that level, they may need to be escalated.

For the past two years, the independent Aged Care Complaints Commissioner has been receiving notifications after the care people have received in residential, in-home or community care – and communication around that care – has broken down.

Those complaints have also come when a person has tried to address concerns but does not feel heard by their provider.

The Commissioner has emphasised the importance of complaints, saying they are “great opportunities to improve care” and are a positive.

Service providers are also encouraged to welcome complaints, “treating them as part of the opportunity to improve their service”.

Complaints can be made by calling the Commission’s national 1800 550 552 number or online via its website (at www.agedcarecomplaints.gov.au).

With elder abuse an issue nationally, each state and territory provides information about abuse and abuse prevention as well as useful contacts and options for getting help. The MyAgedCare website indicates these include:

State/territory Organisation or resource Contact
Australian Capital Territory Older Persons Abuse Prevention Referral and Information Line (APRIL) 02 6205 3535
New South Wales NSW Elder Abuse Helpline 1800 628 221
Northern Territory Northern Territory Police 131 444
Queensland Elder Abuse Prevention Unit 1300 651 192
South Australia Aged Rights Advocacy Service
Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
08 8232 5377 (Adelaide)
1800 700 600 (rural)
Tasmania Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline 1800 441 169
Victoria Seniors Rights Victoria 1300 368 821
Western Australia Advocare Inc. 1300 724 679 (Perth)
1800 655 566 (rural)

Have your say on aged care-2

Information for residents, families and carers

P-Info-Sunrise-reflected-in-trio-of-windows

  • Are you – or someone for whom you care – needing aged care services? Your one-stop-shop should be the Federal Government’s MyAgedCare website, which has information about aged care options, eligibility for service assistance, assessments to match up with appropriate services as well as setting up and managing those services.
  • Whether you are an older or infirm Australian still living at home or in residential care – or you care for someone in that position – you can get help with managing medicines via the MyAgedCare website. If you use a smartphone, you can also download and use the MedicineWise app from the National Prescribing Service via the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).
  • The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is a national network comprising nine state and territory organisations that deliver advocacy, information and education services to older and infirm people across Australia. These organisations include Advocare (WA), Seniors and Disability Rights Service (NT), Catholic Care (NT), Aged Rights Advocacy Service (SA), ADA Australia (Qld), Advocacy Tasmania (Tas), Elder Rights Advocacy (Vic), Adacas Advocacy (ACT) and Seniors Rights Service (NSW). OPAN members’ free services support older and infirm people, and their representatives, to address issues related to Commonwealth-funded aged care services.
  • Finding the right aged care for your parents can be something you are confronted with suddenly. This ABC Radio Life Matters article steps you through the process, from aged care assessment to care in the home and residential care options to understanding the basic costs involved.
  • Having chosen – or been offered – a bed in an aged care facility that appears suitable, the next step is to work out what will need to be paid. This guide to nursing home costs steps through the basic daily fee, the accommodation payment options, any means-tested and extra services fees. It also addresses what to do if there are potential difficulties in paying accommodation fees.
  • Choosing to live independently in your own home can be possible for older and infirm Australians if they can get assistance with simple tasks such as taking a shower, dressing and getting to appointments. This home care introduction web page outlines the types of home care available, how to access Federal Government-funded home care services and the types of assessment available for eligible recipients. It also steps you through choosing a home care provider, your financial contribution and lists how to identify other home care services.
  • After registering your name, email and phone number, you can download a free, independent guide from Connect Hearing to help you compare the different types of hearing aids available. The guide explains what to expect from hearing aids, the types of hearing aid styles, advances in hearing aid technology and compares hearing aids available on the market. Alternatively, you can call 1300 186 536 to request a copy be mailed out to you or someone for whom you care.

Have your say on aged care-2

Resources

P-resources-seashells

Whether you are seeking further information for yourself, a family member or someone for whom you are caring, this section provides links to:

If you know of other useful resources, please let us know at secretary@opso.com.au so we can share them on these web pages.

Have your say on aged care-2

State and territory government policies and services

P-couple-on-train

Each of Australia’s states and territories has a number of policies and services for older and infirm citizens. Below are the links to a selection of official policies and services in each jurisdiction.

Queensland

New South Wales

Australian Capital Territory

Victoria

Tasmania

South Australia

Northern Territory

Western Australia

Conversation starter

Have you – or anyone you have cared for – experienced issues with State or Territory governments, either in relation to policies or services? What were the consequences of those policy or service issues? Were you able to resolve those issues? How were you supported through this process?

Have your say on aged care-2

Federal Government policies

P-fed-govt-B&W-crowd-on-Spit-sea-wall-as-wave-breaks-over-them

The Federal Government publishes a number of resources online that explain how aged care options, regulations and reforms are working.

These include:

Aged Care: A quick guide

‘Caring for the elderly’ – an overview of aged care support and services in Australia

Guides and policies

Aged care reform

Legislation

Conversation starter

How easy have you or someone for whom you care found navigating your way through aged care options? Did you have good access to sources of timely information and advice? Have you or someone for whom you care advocated for change as part of the Federal Government’s aged care reform process? What were your experiences?

Have your say on aged care-2

Aged care quality indicators

P-standards-Oversized-upturned-shell

The Federal Government Department of Health, through its Ageing and Aged Care unit, has established the National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program with three initial quality indicators for residential aged care. These look at performance around:

  • pressure injuries
  • use of physical restraint
  • unplanned weight loss.

To be – and remain – an accredited provider, aged care facilities must meet benchmarks across four standards:

  • Management systems, staffing and organisational development
  • Health and personal care
  • Care recipient lifestyle
  • Physical environment and safe systems.

On the other hand, care provided in a person’s home or in the community is measured against three standards:

  • Effective management
  • Appropriate access and service delivery
  • Service user rights and responsibilities.

In addition, there are two flexible aged care program standards for Indigenous elders:

  • Care delivery and information
  • Management and accountability.

However, after reviewing the sector’s quality indicators, The University of Sydney and UNSW researchers have called for a review of aged care policy and the establishment of a “robust and comprehensive” aged care quality data system.

Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda, they cautioned that understanding the connections between clinical indicators, the care needs of a facility’s residents, and the perceptions of clients and staff were “crucial”, having demonstrated a complex relationship among these factors in their analysis.

They reviewed data collected from 426 facilities between 2015 and 2016 covering five commonly gathered clinical indicators of care quality: falls, pressure injury, physical restraint, unplanned weight loss and polypharmacy. Only the last factor was regularly reported.

Conversation starter

Do you – or someone for whom you care – feel that the Federal Government’s aged care quality indicators already in place are sufficient to achieve a “robust and comprehensive” assessment of residential, in-home or community care? 

Have your say on aged care-2

NDIS for younger people in aged care

P-sunset-silhouette-wheelchair2

Governments have said they will spend an extra $11 billion a year on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

But many people under the age of 65 years residing in aged care facilities may miss out on receiving support due to communication barriers, a lack of access to information, little or no assistance to navigate the process plus a diminished understanding of their own functional and health needs.

In this Australian Ageing Agenda web article, an NDIS expert with inside knowledge – who now works away from the agency – is calling on aged care providers to ensure younger residents are connected to the NDIS and receive the financial and personal support they require.

Conversation starter

Have you – or someone for whom you care – had difficulty navigating the requirements of the NDIS? Were you able to receive advice and assistance that progressed the application being made? What was the outcome? Were there any delays? 

Have your say on aged care-2

Policy areas

P-policy-Older-lady-reading-newspaper

There is a wide range of policies relating to the care of older and infirm Australians receiving services in aged care facilities and in their own homes.

Additionally, older and infirm Australians who are under the age of 65 years may be eligible, following assessment, for support via the National Disability Insurance Scheme .

Public, private and not-for-profit residential aged care facilities must meet a standard set of quality indicators for the services they provide.

While the Federal Government is centrally responsible for setting national aged care policy and procedures, all states and territories assist older and infirm citizens and their families and carers to identify their care options.

Conversation starter

Have you – or someone you have cared for – found change is needed in policy relating to either residential or in-home care? Is that change critical at the national, state or regional level? Or is the change more urgent at truly local level, i.e., in an aged care facility or in your immediate community?

Have your say on aged care-2

Costs relating to in-home care

P-in-home-care-pink-hat-lady-stays-active

The Australian Government subsidises both Commonwealth Home Support Packages and Home Care Packages and publishes information about those costs.

However, if you can afford to, you are expected to contribute to the cost of your care.

This web page notes that there is a fee for each service delivered under the CHSP and the amount you contribute depends on your income and the type and number of services you require.

You and your service provider will discuss and agree on the rate before you receive any services. Contact your service provider to find out specific costs.

Conversation starter

Have you or someone for whom you care applied for either – or both – a Commonwealth Home Support Package or a Home Care Package? What were your experiences with this process? How long was the wait for the package to begin? What support was the person needing care while they waited for their package? Was the support given sufficient to sustain the person in their home? Did family, friends or neighbours play a role in this person’s care at any point? Did the person remain at home?

Have your say on aged care-2

Extra services

P-extras-B&W-knives-and-forks

Extra services in residential aged care refers to the provision of additional, hotel-type services that include a significantly higher than average standard of accommodation, range and quality of food, as well as non-care services such as recreational, entertainment and personal interest activities.

These are separately charged as an additional daily fee.

Conversation starter

Have you or someone for whom you care ordered Extra Services for someone in residential aged care? What services were expected and were these services delivered? Did you feel the price paid for Extra Services was worth it?

Have your say on aged care-2

Residential aged care costs

P-res-costs-storm-clouds-above-units

Navigating the costs associated with residential aged care is complex and can be confusing, even in the most straightforward cases.

And it is often difficult to compare potential outgoings between providers because services and fee structures usually vary.

As this Startsat60 article points out, while the Federal Government subsidises some aged care services, there is an expectation that the person going into a care facility will contribute to care costs wherever they can afford to do so.

It explains that the cost of aged care typically consists of a basic daily fee, a means-tested care fee, an accommodation payment plus (usually optional) extra services fees.

Conversation starter

Have you or someone for whom you care found it difficult to weigh up the outgoings between residential aged care providers? Who was able to give you advice? In the end, what did the decision come down to? Have you been satisfied that value for money has been delivered?

Have your say on aged care-2

Care costs

P-costs-couple-looking-out-to-sea

The Australian Financial Review recently reported on a survey by National Seniors Australia and a commercial annuity provider.

This survey found that – despite a widespread belief that the need for money decreases as one ages – a majority of those aged older than 75 years found their cash flow needs went up not down.

This was because health costs and family support needs typically replaced and exceeded earlier financial commitments.

With life expectancy for both Australian men and women rising, provision also needs to be made for a longer retirement period.

Conversation starter

Have you or someone for whom you care found costs for aged care reasonable or too high? What aspect is of the most concern? What issues have you encountered around the costs associated with aged care?

Have your say on aged care-2

Accessing home-care support

P-accessing-Heart-in-hands-silhouette

The Federal Government has two in-home care programs for those who have been assessed as eligible for support:

  • the Commonwealth Home Support Services program, which provides entry-level assistance around the home
  • Home Care Packages, a four-stage extra support program that provides a set amount of funding for recipients or their carers to choose whichever external services needed at each stage under a “consumer-directed” care model.

Both are desperately in need of review and increased funding if they are going to meet the needs of a growing ageing population.

As of December 2017, more than 100,000 people were already waiting – sometimes more than a year – to receive approval for their Home Care Package.

In the meantime, those on waiting lists were receiving services at levels well below that which they had been assessed as needing.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, this has led to some older and infirm Australians going into residential aged care much earlier than expected.

Conversation starter

What have been your experiences with accessing in-home support and/or home-care packages? How has that process unfolded? Are you and your loved ones satisfied with this? What would you change?

Have your say on aged care-2

Dying at home

P-death-home-Empty-chair

While around 70 per cent of Australians say they would prefer to die at home, the Sydney Morning Herald recently noted that the Productivity Commission has reported that tens of thousands of Australians are instead dying in places that do not reflect that choice or their care needs.

As a health economist writing for The Conversation website has discussed, provided symptoms can be controlled, most people at the end of life prefer to die at home, yet around half end up dying in a hospital.

But what are the concerns and decisions to be made? The ABC’s World Today program explored some of the key issues around dying at home.

Conversation starter

Have you experienced a death in the home? What support did you receive or give? What were the challenges? What were the positives? Would you want that for yourself or others?

Have your say on aged care-2

End-of-life and palliative care at home

P-EOL-Ballina-cloudy-sunrise-over-water-

With only around half of Australians able to make their own end-of-life decisions, during Advance Care Planning Week the Federal Government launched a multimillion-dollar plan to help people talk about their end-of-life wishes and care plans.

This ABC AM segment hears from three experts who recognise the importance of Advance Care Plans.

While the number of palliative care services is growing across Australia, people in rural and remote areas still struggle to access end-of-life care.

And, according to the Aged Care Guide website, a new report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows more people are accessing palliative care services in a hospital than ever before.

Meanwhile, access to good palliative care services remains largely dependent on patient location and socioeconomic status.

Conversation starter

What experience have you or your loved ones had with end-of-life issues, palliative care or Advance Care Plans? What positive things came out of that experience? What would you like to see change?

Have your say on aged care-2

Falls, trips, physical harm and abuse in the community

P-falls-Man-on-bench-with-cane

With consequences of falls, physical harm or abuse including increased anxiety and fear of falling or being attacked again, increased functional decline, decreased independence, fractures, distress and even death, preventive steps are essential for older and infirm Australians.

One Curtin University study – reported on the Australian Ageing Agenda website – has shown that trained community workers can safely incorporate an 8-week falls-prevention exercise program into their existing services for those older and infirm clients who are at low or medium risk of falling over.

With just four hours of training, community care workers were able to deliver the falls-prevention program, leading to positive outcomes.

Conversation starter

What experience have you or a loved one who is still living at home had with falls, physical harm or abuse? How did that experience come to light? Who was able to assist and was a solution found?

Have your say on aged care-2

Financial abuse of independent elderly

P-financial-B&W-older-face-in-mirror

The Australian Financial Review reports that up to one in 10 older Australians has been financially abused, with adult children the most likely perpetrators.

It also highlights the role of “inheritance impatience” and misuse of powers of attorney authorities, with an increasing number of applications to revoke a power of attorney after concerns arising from actions by family members.

But financial abuse can come from other sources, too, as the ABC Online showed in its reporting on the recently opened banking royal commission.

Conversation starter

What experience have you – or someone you know or care for – had with financial abuse of an older Australian who is still living at home (i.e., not in an aged care facility?) Was there someone in authority able to intervene? What was the outcome?

Have your say on aged care-2

Personal safety and security in the community

P-personal-safety-B&W-older-lady-walking-with-3-shadows

Sydney-based home care service Better Caring has a handy guide to home safety for the elderly and infirm.

Useful for older or infirm Australians and those who care for them, the guide covers:

  • warning signs that extra help may be needed
  • how to approach those conversations and accept change
  • assessing how much help is needed now and into the future
  • what home modifications may be essential or simply useful.

The guide also includes five essential tips to avoid falls and a home safety checklist.

Conversation starter

Have you – or someone you care for who lives independently – experienced personal safety and/or security concerns? Where did you turn for advice or help? Were you able to successfully address those concerns or rectify any vulnerabilities?

Have your say on aged care-2

Hygiene, sanitation and homelessness in the community

P-hygiene3

Recently Mission Australia called for the Federal Government to build 60,000 additional social housing dwellings following the release of its 2017 report that showed homelessness is a growing problem for older Australians.

The report, Ageing and homelessness: Solutions for a growing problem, noted that the number of people aged over 55 years who are reaching out for assistance from specialist homelessness support services is continuing to grow, with older women particularly vulnerable to later-in-life homelessness.

Homelessness affects other areas of life, such as general and mental health, hygiene and ready access to proper sanitation facilities, issues that only become more pronounced the older the homeless person gets.

Even those still living in their own homes will sometimes require assistance with daily living tasks, including hygiene, showering and toileting, as the upswing in in-home support services shows.

Conversation starter

Have you – or someone for whom you care – experienced challenges with managing hygiene, sanitation or homelessness? Were you, or they, able to access assistance? How could the situation have been improved for them and others? 

Have your say on aged care-2

Personal care at home and in the community

P-independent-Man-at-beach-in-motorised-chair

Recent figures released by the Productivity Commission show that, during the 2016-17 financial year, $17.4 billion was spent on aged care, with about 30 per cent of that figure spent on those older or infirm Australians wishing to live independently in their own homes.

According to a news.com.au report, that expenditure covers assistance with dressing and other daily living activities, transport, socialisation, installation and maintenance of home living aids such as hand rails and ramps, preparation or supply of meals, nursing and provision of medical devices such as walking frames, mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs.

Yet one in three older Australians living at home say their needs are not being fully met, an even higher percentage than among those with a profound or severe disability.

Conversation starter

Have you or an older or infirm relative or friend living independently found sufficient support for personal care under the current Federal Government funding arrangements? Did you need – or were you given – assistance with accessing funding support for in-home services?

Have your say on aged care-2

Companionship in the community

P-Laughing-couple

Whether older and infirm Australians get to meet up with friends, family or organised visitors is a big factor in reducing loneliness and isolation. In turn, say experts, this has positive flow-on effects for their mental health.

So much so that formal companionship programs – such as this one featured by ABC Online in New South Wales’ Hunter region, another highlighted by Triple J Hack in South Australia and a variety run around the country by Red Cross – are blossoming.

For others living independently, having a pet provides daily companionship. Sometimes, all it needs is a helping hand to make that happen, says Queensland’s Animal Welfare League which runs the Golden Hearts Seniors Pet Support Program.

Conversation starter

Have you – or someone for whom you care – found loneliness and isolation an issue? Was companionship able to be arranged? What issues made it easy or complicated?

Have your say on aged care-2

Communication challenges

P-comms-two-guys---hearing-issue

Hearing loss, cognitive impairment, disease and mental health challenges can all contribute to a breakdown in communication for older and infirm Australians.

While mishearing a doctor, nurse or carer is not uncommon for older adults or younger people with hearing loss or diminished cognition, it can lead to miscommunication of important clinical instructions that can lead to potentially serious medical or medication errors.

One study reported on the Aged Care Guide website found 43 per cent of adults aged over 60 years reported having misheard a doctor, nurse or both in a primary care or hospital settings. This can lead to misdiagnosis and potentially serious clinical mistreatments.

That study found better communication between medical practitioners and families could have prevented 36 per cent of medical errors.

However, there are things informed health practitioners and carers can do to ensure clearer communication.

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one living independently had an experience where communication has broken down due to hearing loss? What happened? What were the consequences? Has anything been done to address this situation? Has this improved matters?

Have your say on aged care-2

In-home meals (including fluids)

P-meals-healthysalad

Poor or insufficient food and fluid intake in the elderly and infirm inevitably leads to a malnourished body.

Malnutrition is associated with a cascade of adverse outcomes, including increased risk of falls, pressure injuries and hospital admissions, leading to poorer quality of life and increased healthcare costs.

With up to 30 per cent of older people living in the community malnourished or at risk of malnutrition, this Australian Journal of Pharmacy article exposes 10 food and fluid intake myths for seniors.

It also advises how to eat healthily and maintain sufficient fluid intake to avoid malnutrition.

Conversation starter

Have dietary matters and/or fluid intake been issues for you or someone you care for who is an older or infirm Australian? What have been the consequences? Were you able to you seek professional advice from a dietitian or other health professional? Was the situation addressed satisfactorily?

Have your say on aged care-2

Medication management in the community

P-meds-B&W-fishing-chat-behind-bench

Just like in other countries, medication errors are a problem in Australia, with an estimated 2-3 per cent of all hospital admissions medication-related.

This suggests at least 230,000 admissions annually in this country are caused by patients taking too much or too little of a medicine – or taking the wrong medicine – with the cost topping at least $1.2 billion. A good proportion of these patients are older and infirm Australians still living independently.

This recent article in a New York newspaper has five useful tips especially for those people receiving in-home or community care, and for their carers, to help prevent medication errors.

Conversation starter

Has medication management been a challenge for you or someone you have cared for? What were any consequences? Where did you go for advice? What was the recommendation? What did you learn?

Have your say on aged care-2

In-home and community care recipients’ rights and responsibilities

P-rights-older-lady-drinking-tea

Just in case you haven’t seen them before, there is a suite of rights and responsibilities for those receiving care in their own home that set out what is expected under the federal Aged Care Act 1997.

If you have a concern about these rights or responsibilities, the best agency to address those to is the federal Department of Health’s Ageing and Aged Care. However, if your queries are more about accessing aged care services for older or infirm people, you should visit the My Aged Care website or call 1800 200 422.

Conversation starter

Have these in-home care rights and responsibilities been spelled out to you or your loved one? Have you ever been witness to one or more breaches of these rights? What additional things could be added to these lists of rights and responsibilities?

Have your say on aged care-2

 

Off-loading to hospitals

P-offloading-B&W-empty-boat

One of Brisbane’s major hospitals has drawn attention to the “extraordinary” rate of aged care patients from one northside healthcare facility being ‘dumped’ in the hospital’s emergency department for basic care.

In a recent report in The Australian, three senior medical sources at the hospital note that the admissions were typically for minor catheter and wound management, services for which aged care providers receive federal government funds.

Hospitals have been critical of the growing frequency in the use of the money-saving move that is allegedly becoming part of care homes’ “business model”.

Another report by SBS News Online sees the spotlight shone on private aged care facilities being unwilling to hire more nursing and care staff.

Conversation starter

Have you or your family witnessed such transfers? Did you believe they were necessary? Were you of the understanding that the aged care facility concerned would provide such nursing care on-site? Did you have the reverse experience, i.e., would you have preferred that a transfer to a hospital took place?

Have your say on aged care-2

Training

P-training-Sand-filled-wave-breaks-on-shore

Aged care workers are the backbone of the sector. Without nurses, personal care workers and other aged care staff, this article notes, Australia’s vulnerable elderly and infirm could flounder.

But ensuring all personnel received sufficient training remains an ideal yet to be reached. Stemming the tide of under-prepared personnel is one aspect being looked at by the sector’s experts.

Recently Professor John Pollaers – who is head of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce – spoke at the Quality in Aged Care Conference in Sydney.

Reporting his speech, aged care review website HelloCare said Professor Pollaers told conference attendees that, while people were in this industry “because they care”, the Taskforce would be looking at, among other things, current and future education and training provided to all staff.

Conversation starter

Have you – or someone you care about – seen evidence of the level of training in a residential aged care facility? What was the issue that drew your attention? Was any shortfall raised with the facility’s management? What was the response?

Have your say on aged care-2

 

Staff:resident ratios

P-ratios-tide-footprints

Fewer staff, bigger workloads, time for caring wiped out, sometimes with serious consequences.

There are claims that cuts to qualified staff led to the death of a Queensland woman from septicaemia just two months after her aged care facility failed 15 of 44 industry standards.

As an ABC Online report notes, the centre was found to be lacking in the level of food, fluids and personal care, with not enough “appropriately skilled and qualified staff” and insufficient monitoring and reporting of “clinical incidents”.

It two other reports in the Sunshine Coast Daily another Queensland aged care facility – with a previously unblemished record – that had cut 722 hours from its fortnightly staff roster last year subsequently failed eight of 44 industry standards.

The reported shortfalls, worryingly, were in medication management, clinical care and specialised nursing care needs.

Staff-to-resident ratios in both cases drew the wrath of residents, families and, in the latter case, the district’s federal member.

Conversation starter

Are you satisfied with level and quality of clinical or nursing care provided in your – or your loved one’s – aged care facility? Are there sufficient staff to provide a decent service? What needs to change? Have you been able to raise your concerns with anyone and, if so, what was the response? Did care improve afterwards?

Have your say on aged care-2

Staffing in residential aged care

P-staffing-lady-seated-with-cane-in-shallows

Stories abound of shrinking staff numbers in Australian residential aged care facilities. Fewer people to take on larger workloads and fewer shifts to go around. It is one of the most contentious aspects evident, right across the residential aged care system.

Sadly, evidently with the blessing of authorities, some providers have opted to reassign certain duties – that previously only a registered nurse could do – to the sector’s newest position, “personal care workers”.

Alarm bells are ringing because these less expensive workers, it is claimed, are being tasked with administering medicines “without proper training”.

Just what it was like working in that environment was explained at a recent aged care forum by a qualified nurse.

In this long read from the Bundaberg NewsMail, which describes her typical work day, this nurse outlines the shortcuts needed to meet productivity expectations as well as the reasons she no longer works in the sector.

Conversation starter

Are you a current or former aged care facility worker? What changes have you seen over the recent past in staffing levels and what has that meant for residents and staff? Did you leave the sector because of staffing level issues or are you considering doing so? Or have you or a loved one seen staffing level changes in your aged care facility?

Have your say on aged care-2

Deaths in residential care

P-deaths-empty-bench-at-sunrise

Australia’s aged care facilities are increasingly deadly places for their residents, with falls, choking and suicide the main causes of preventable deaths, according to a recent Monash University study that calls for more effort to be made to reduce risks for elderly Australians.

The researchers last year found up to 3,000 residential aged care home deaths were “premature and preventable”, with falls accounting for the vast majority (82 per cent) of these deaths and medication errors also among the reasons for the loss of life.

The result represented a 400 per cent increase in preventable deaths over the past decade.

This Sydney Morning Herald report looks at the experience of one public health researcher whose mother’s death while an aged care resident highlighted some of the key pitfalls in overstretched nursing homes.

Conversation starter

What experience have you had with someone passing away either in or from an aged care facility? If the death was not from natural causes, what was the reason? Did the person receive appropriate palliative care and medical attention? Were that person’s loved ones cared for appropriately?

Have your say on aged care-2

End-of-life and palliative care in residential care

P-EOL-Backlit-feather

A blistering Productivity Commission report released in March has found the country’s palliative care services are failing older Australians.

The report noted that tens of thousands of Australians are dying in places that do not reflect their choices or meet their needs.

According to this SBS coverage of the report, the commission has recommended a raft of changes to significantly expand community based palliative care and to improve end-of-life services in residential aged care. It noted that the latter “should be core business for aged care facilities” and that the quality of that care “should align with the quality that available to other Australians”.

In residential aged care facilities, the commission has urged the removal of current restrictions on the duration and availability of palliative care funding.

Conversation starter

What have your experiences been with the provision of end-of-life care or palliative care in an aged care setting? Were you and your family satisfied that all was done to keep your loved one comfortable? Could things have been done differently?

Have your say on aged care-2

Falls, physical harm, abuse in residential care

P-falls-Autumn-leaves-on-painted-deck

A National Ageing Research Institute senior researcher says there is not enough research done in residential aged care to truly understand falls, their causes and to evaluate a range of interventions.

While work progresses on reducing the rate of falls in older people living in the community – from one in three people aged 65 years and over – up to three times as many residents, about half of all in aged care settings, experience falls every year.

Given aged care residents are older, more likely to have cognitive impairment and are frailer than those living in the community, a higher number of falls might be expected.

The extent of injury with falls in aged care is higher and the greatest concern is for those who fall frequently.

With consequences of falls including increased anxiety and fear of falling again, increased functional decline, decreased independence, fractures and death, well-funded, targeted research is needed to develop education programs for staff and residents.

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one experienced – or have you witnessed – a fall or other harm or abuse in an aged care facility? What was the consequence of this? What had been done to prevent that happening beforehand? What was done afterward to prevent it happening again?

Have your say on aged care-2

Financial abuse in residential care

P-financial-Red-sunset-over-water

Last year, in a joint ABC-Fairfax investigation, residents of the multi-billion-dollar retirement village industry described buying into a retirement village – even ones that were linked to aged care facilities – had been an unwanted “financial sinkhole”.

This report looks specifically how one of the nation’s largest aged care providers, Aveo, had been exploiting elderly residents of its villages.

The company’s alarming business practices included safety issues, misleading during its marketing, advertising and property sale and lease processes. The company’s legalistic sales contracts were described by some lawyers as “complex” and “draconian”.

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one experienced financial abuse by an aged care provider? What happened in this instance? Were you or your family able to negotiate a fairer outcome with the provider? Had any contracts been viewed by an independent lawyer prior to signing? Was the matter reported to any authority? What was the eventual outcome?

Have your say on aged care-2

Property loss or damage

P-property-loss

Theft and property loss can be distressing and even cause financial difficulties for those in residential aged care, yet missing or misplaced clothing, broken treasures, stolen jewellery, broken medical aids that are depended on, money taken – or used inappropriately – are frequently spoken of by residents, families and carers.

Sometimes an external player is responsible, as in this Melbourne story from The Age, but more often the perpetrator works in, resides in or visits the facility where the damage or loss took place.

Conversation starter

Tell us about any experience you, a loved one or someone you have cared for has had with property loss or damage while they were a resident in an aged care facility. Was the item repaired, replaced or found intact? If not, were you or your loved one compensated for the loss or damage? Did the loss or damage happen more than once? What was the resident’s reaction? What steps did the aged care facility take to prevent this happening in future?

Have your say on aged care-2

Personal safety and security

P-safety-B&W-elderly-gent-walking-with-cane

Families, carers and residents often chose a particular aged care facility because they were assured of the steps it takes to ensure personal safety and security.

Increasingly, though, reports have emerged of insecure facilities, poor background checks and other residents with problematic behaviours.

One NSW centre last year failed a number of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency’s key benchmarks, including staff working without criminal history checks, residents right to privacy not being respected, under-resourced cleaning and catering teams and repairs not being promptly addressed.

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one felt that personal safety or security was less than anticipated in an aged care facility? What were your experiences? Was the matter raised with the facility’s management or an external body? If it was a serious incident, were police notified? Was a formal complaint lodged? What was the outcome or consequences?

Have your say on aged care-2

Hygiene, sanitation

P-hygiene-B&W-older-hands

Whether the issue be about showering, toileting, dental care, nail length and cleanliness, management of medical devices such as hearing aids, daily wound care or adequate movement to prevent pressure sores that can eventually be deadly, many families and residents have concerns about how hygiene and sanitation are managed in aged care facilities.

One NSW Central Coast family’s tragic story underscores the consequences of inattention to basic hygiene standards. [Warning: graphic image in this story.]

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one witnessed hygiene or sanitation issues in an aged care facility? How long was it before a family member of the resident concerned was made aware of the issue? How was the issue brought to the attention of the facility’s staff? What was the response? Did the matter have to be raised on more than one occasion? What were the consequences for the person receiving care? What other impacts were there? Was the situation so severe that the resident was moved to another facility?

Have your say on aged care-2

Personal care

P-personal-care-White-feather-on-dark-soil

Staff at a Queensland aged care facility that failed 15 of 44 key quality measures during an unannounced visit by auditors have subsequently admitted that residents were left underfed, unfed, and were sponged instead of being showered because of time constraints.

In a written memo to staff after the audit, the facility’s management instructed staff to attempt to feed residents on three occasions and if those attempts failed, they were to discard the food.

Residents at the facility had also told auditors they were being left on toilets for prolonged periods.

Conversation starter

Do you work in an aged care facility where things are not what they should be? Or are you or a loved one involved with a facility where this is evident? What things could be done differently or better? What do you believe are the factors behind this shortfall? Have those concerns been raised with the facility’s management or an external authority? What was the response?

Have your say on aged care-2

Companionship

P-companions-hijabis-on-an-overcast-day-looking-out-to-sea

You would think that aged care facilities should be well-placed to tackle social isolation. But three Victorian experts say research has shown seniors living in residential care report feeling lonelier than those who remain in the community.

With social connectedness a key determinant of health, it was alarming to hear the Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt announce last year that up to 40 per cent of people living in residential aged care were not receiving any visitors at all.

This Australian Ageing Agenda article looks at ways to break the cycle of loneliness and isolation.

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one had concerns about isolation, loneliness or neglect issues in aged care residents? What actions would you like to see taken?

Have your say on aged care-2

Communication

P-communication-older-man-with-mobile-phone

Lack of communication between staff and with residents and their families and carers is a growing concern. But when communication breaks down to such an extent a resident’s life is put in danger, families and carers find their loved ones can be put in life-threatening situations.

That, sadly, was the case just over a year ago for one Queensland family, who has since spoken publicly about the care shortfalls and communication barriers their mother faced before she died of a preventable infection.

Conversation starter

Have you or your loved one found communication issues have impacted the care received in an aged care facility? What was your experience? Was the aged care facility responsive to your concerns? Was this situation addressed or did it lead to further issues? Did you end up lodging a formal complaint?

Have your say on aged care-2

Resident meals (including fluids)

P-meals-Lonely-egg

The headline said it all: Prisoners fed better than Aussies in aged care homes.

Shocking new data unveiled earlier this year showed Australian aged care facilities spent an average of just $6.08 per resident to provide three meals a day, down by 30 cents per resident per day over the previous year.

By comparison, prisons spent an average of $8.25 per prisoner per day on food and aged care facilities overseas were increasing their spending on food for residents.

Other Australians spend $17.25-$23.60 per person each day on food. It’s no wonder half of our nation’s 64,256 residents in aged care facilities suffer from malnutrition.

Malnutrition is associated with a cascade of adverse outcomes, including increased risk of falls, pressure injuries and hospital admissions. Inevitably, malnutrition leads to poorer resident quality of life and increased healthcare costs.

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one noticed the decline in the amount and/or quality of food or fluids being served in your aged care facility? How long has any decline been evident? Are supplements and/or food replacements being used instead of real food? Are you – or a family member or friend – routinely bringing food to someone in an aged care facility?

Have your say on aged care-2

Clinical care

P-Clinical-care-concentric-ripples-on-a-pond

Even aged care facilities that meet every accreditation standard can be deficient in providing consistent and timely clinical care.

The experience of one Melbourne woman who spoke to Fairfax Media – whose husband endured two years of questionable care, including being placed in restraints up to 12 hours at a time for months at a stretch for spurious reasons and rarely sleeping in a bed, exacerbating his back pain – underscored how subjective standards often are not enough.

Conversation starter

Have you or your loved one experienced an issue with clinical care in a residential aged care facility? What was the issue and what were its consequences? Who was approached to address this issue? Were you satisfied with the response? What was the eventual outcome?

Have your say on aged care-2

Medication management

P-Medication-Wide-shot-of-golden-waves-crashing-onshore

Monash University research has found medication errors in aged care facilities are common and their potential to cause harm is high, but that reporting of the serious effects of such errors on residents – such as permanent disability or death – is rare.

The researchers looked at a number of studies from 2000 to 2015 that showed between 16 and 27 per cent of residents had been exposed to one or more medication errors. They also found that errors resulting in serious outcomes were “probably underreported or undetected”.

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one experienced an issue with how medications were being managed in a residential aged care facility? Did any error occur at the home or at the time of transfer to/from another health facility? Were aged care facility staff made aware of any medication issue? Was a medical practitioner made aware of the issue? Were you satisfied by the response from either by staff or medical professionals? Were there any serious consequences? Was the matter ultimately resolved?

Have your say on aged care-2

Aged care residents’ rights and responsibilities

P-Rights-respons-agedcare-Ripple-wave

Just in case you haven’t seen them before, there is a suite of rights and responsibilities for those receiving residential care in an aged care facility that is set out under the federal Aged Care Act 1997 Schedule 1 User Rights Principles 2014.

If you have a concern about these rights or responsibilities, the best agency to address those to is the federal Department of Health’s Ageing and Aged Care. However, if your queries are more about accessing aged care services for older or infirm people, you should visit the My Aged Care website or call 1800 200 422.

If you have experiences that do not meet these rights or responsibilities, please go to the appropriate section of this site to let us know what your experience has been. The site’s sections are listed on the left-hand side of each web page.

Conversation starter

Have these residential aged care rights and responsibilities been spelled out to you or your loved one? Have you ever been witness to one or more breaches of these rights? What additional things could be added to these lists of rights and responsibilities?

Have your say on aged care-2

Submission instructions

P-SubmissionInstructions-Wise-old-owl

Submissions to this website will only be published that have come from individuals who have identified themselves, their location within Australia and a contact number.

These personal details are not for inclusion in published posts. However, if we have questions about your submission, a team member may contact you for clarification.

If you haven’t already done so, please read our Privacy statement.

You may make a submission via this site at any stage, either in whole sentences or simply as dot points. All submissions will be moderated.

We reserve the right to withhold names and/or specific details in posts that may identify vulnerable individuals or present legal complications.

Suitable, moderated content will be progressively added to the various sections of this site.

Posts will be shown with one or more hashtags. Because some experiences may span more than one sub-category, you may see the same item in more than one location – e.g., #agedcare #residentialcare #daytodaycare #agedcarequalityindicators would appear in several sections.

Submissions can be made from the home page or any section of this site by following the Your Say on Aged Care motif.

If you, your family or a friend are unable to use a computer for this purpose, please have someone download our form here, then fill it out and mail it to:

Your Say on Aged Care
c/- OPSO
PO Box 1037
Mt Gravatt Qld 4122

We reserve the right to decline any submission on the grounds of inappropriate or illegal content and to edit content for clarity or where identifiable elements could present legal concerns.

Have your say on aged care-2

About this site

P-About-this-site-banner-B&W-fence-sitters

About-This-Site-graphic

This website, Your Say on Aged Care, is your chance to share what you have seen or experienced – good or bad. It is also a chance for those who ultimately will craft and make decisions about where to from here to:

  • understand your concerns via concrete examples
  • value those things that are working
  • implement constructive change.

While we have begun with five key sections and many more sub-sections, these may grow over the duration of this project, so if you cannot find a space for your contribution, send one anyway and we will ensure it finds the right home.

We invite you to explore the various sections and to check out the Resources section which has additional links to relevant media coverage around aged care issues.

It is planned that the Your Say On Aged Care website will have a limited life. We plan for it to be active until at least year’s end, but we have been informed that legislation is being formulated throughout 2018 with a report due to be compiled by the end of June and draft legislation due to be presented to Parliament in September. So, the earlier you submit, the greater the chance your voice will be heard.

Please read the Submission instructions prior to telling us about your experiences.

Background

P-B&W-Concrete-bollard-with-a-message---Melbourne

Background-September-quarter-info-graphic

It’s no secret that many Australians are deeply unhappy about the quality of residential and in-home care provided to its elderly and infirm.

The Federal Government’s Aged Care Complaints body reports quarterly, with its September 2017 quarter showing 1,286 complaints were received relating to residential, in-home and community care in just three months.

Indeed, the crisis in aged care is so deep and systemic that, after calls from seniors and aged care providers, the Federal Government recently announced it would close and replace the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) because it could not be trusted to act.

According to a report in The Age, the agency failed to detect and act on a number of shocking cases of inadequate care, abuse and neglect.

The table below shows the breakdown of complaints received in the September quarter 2017 by the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner from all states and territories.

State/ Territory No. of complaints % of complaints relating to
aged care facilities
% of complaints relating to
in-home care
% of complaints
relating to
community care
NSW 421 71.3% 26.9% 0.2%
Vic 345 79.4% 19.4% 1.2%
Qld 303 75.7% 24.8% 0.7%
SA 106 84.0% 14.2% 1.9%
WA 48 75.0% 27.1% 0.0%
Tas 24 66.7% 33.3% 0.0%
ACT 21 47.6% 47.6% 4.8%
NT 11 63.6% 36.4% 0.0%
Source: Australian Government’s Aged Care Complaints Commissioner https://www.agedcarecomplaints.gov.au/internet/accc/publishing.nsf/Content/quarterly-reports

Indeed, official complaints sent to the Aged Care Complaints Commission – the body charged with assessing whether industry standards are being met – were well documented.have risen from 2,996 in the year to June 2017 to 3,205 in the following six months alone.

Complaints rose from 2,996 in the year to June 2017 to 3,205 in the following six months alone.The Commission’s data also reveal the huge rise was not only in aged care complaints but that the agency also saw a significant jump in serious risk decisions:

The Commission’s data also reveal the huge rise was not only in aged care complaints but that the agency also saw a significant jump in serious risk decisions:

Background-AACQA-stats

Start here

This website is an initiative of Older People Speak Out, an all-volunteer group of retired and semi-retired professionals who advocate on behalf of Australians aged over 50 years.

We are an independent, free-spirited group with the experience, knowledge and qualifications to speak out on older people’s issues without fear or favour.

OPSO has been going strong for 25+ years and you can find out more about us at opso.com.au, where you can become a member for just $10 a year.

Background

About this site

Submission instructions