Will The Royal Commission Restore Faith In The Aged Care System?
Over the next year, the royal commission will uncover systemic failures and horrific abuse perpetrated against the elderly.
The opening day of the inquiry into the aged-care industry was largely procedural, however analysts expect subsequent hearings to expose failings which will force the government to impose costly additional regulation on the $20 billion industry.
"Frail and elderly members of our community deserve to, and should, be looked after in the best possible way and we intend to do our best to see that happens," Commissioner Richard Tracey, a former Federal Court judge, told the hearing in Adelaide.
Public pressure for an inquiry began in 2017 after media reported dementia patients were being bound in restraints, overdosed on medication and neglected at a since-closed home for the elderly in South Australia.
The inquiry comes hot on the heels of a Royal Commission into the financial sector that exposed widespread wrongdoing and crimped profits at Australia's major banks.
The opening of the inquiry has triggered falls in the share prices of nursing-home operators as investors braced for tighter regulation and a possible sector shakeout.
Aveo Group fell nearly two per cent, Japara Healthcare Ltd slumped nearly three per cent, and Regis Healthcare Ltd was almost one percent weaker, underperforming the broader market which hit a two-month high.
The falls extend losses suffered by Australia's aged-care providers since the semi-judicial independent inquiry was called by Prime Minister Scott Morrison late last year following a series of abuse scandals at nursing homes.
The Royal Commission has already taken 300 public submissions and will consider another 5000 submitted to the federal health department.
The interim report to the federal government is due by October 31, and the final report by April 30, 2020.
Here are some questions to ask an aged care facility BEFORE you send your loved one there:
How are residents involved in decision-making?
What do you do if people lose weight unexpectedly?
What are you doing to prevent pressure injuries?
What are your staffing ratios?
Here are some helpful links to report abused in aged care facilities:
Royal commission submissions don’t close until June 2019 https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/submissions/Pages/default.aspx
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission - https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/
Aged Rights Advocacy Service (SA) - http://www.sa.agedrights.asn.au/
Senior Rights – www.seniorsrights.org.au
National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline Tel. 1800 880 052
My Aged Care - www.myagedcare.gov.au
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service Tel. 1800 737 732
Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Western Australia. Tel. (08) 9479 7566