Criticism of Senate Report Community Affairs April 2019: "Effectiveness of the Aged Care Quality Assessment and accreditation framework for protecting residents from abuse and poor practices, and ensuring proper clinical and medical care standards are maintained and practiced"

Aged care is currently undergoing major changes following the Federal Government’s decision to open the aged care sector up to the market. We believe that these changes will increase many of the pressures, which currently prevail within the sector.  For example, staffing is the largest on-going expenditure faced by aged-care providers and pressures to reduce costs will undoubtedly affect staffing levels. 

There is evidence to suggest that nursing home managers are under pressure to meet their profit targets and reducing staff to do so, often placing vulnerable residents at risk of elder abuse. When staffing is reduced and registered nurses are replaced by lower-skilled staff, care quality suffers. 

A number of articles and presentations suggest that family members have "unrealistic expectations" in aged care.  However, there are major problems in the aged care system and too many residents are suffering as a result.  

Claims about "unrealistic expectations" are a cop out.  If some have unrealistic expectations, it's because of the branding and marketing by the aged care industry and the unrealistic image of a "world class system" promoted by government.  

After 21 years of opacity about staffing and care, the aged-care community and workforce needs and deserves guaranteed clarity. 

MP Rebekha Sharkie has recently introduced a Bill (which has now progressed to an Inquiry) requiring every aged care home to disclose and publish quarterly staff/resident ratios, providing some much-needed transparency to aged care. 

Jane Phillips, University of Technology Sydney; David Currow, University of Technology Sydney; Deborah Parker, University of Technology Sydney, and Nola Ries, University of Technology Sydney

It’s been 20 years since the government brought in the Aged Care Act 1997 to deliver a new model of care for older Australians who could no longer live at home and required assistance with daily tasks. The act aimed to facilitate choice and independence for the elderly, and direct services to those with the greatest needs.

But the legislative change also coincided with an era of advanced ageing and more complex needs in our elderly.

People who had previously entered low-level residential aged care (then called hostels), are now cared for in the community. Once they enter aged care, they’re older and sicker than before, and have more complex needs. Since 2008, the number of older Australians admitted to a residential aged care facility has remained steady, but the proportion of people with high-care needs has progressively increased.