The final report for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has highlighted the need to do more to ensure senior Australians are treated with respect, care and dignity.
Home Caring welcomes the opportunity to review the state of our aged care system and work towards much-needed reform.
The Royal Commission has made 148 recommendations to address structural issues in funding and governance, formulated after evidence from 641 experts, residents and families over almost 100 hearing days since the Prime Minister ordered the inquiry in October 2018.
We are especially pleased to see the government immediately inject $452.2 million into the aged care budget in response to the report – a boost we have already seen evidence of with a number of our current client’s Home Care Package levels upgraded overnight. We look forward to a more comprehensive response from the Government in May 2021.
The Royal Commission has brought to light the adverse conditions faced by some of the most vulnerable people in our country. It particularly noted that in our current system, older people often wait too long to get access to care at home, risking declining function, preventable hospitalisation, carer burnout, premature entry into residential aged care and even death.
The report also recognised that more than 1,000 younger people with a disability were admitted to residential aged care in 2020 because they do not have access to the appropriate disability services they need.
As workers at the coalface of aged care and disability care, we know these are problems are unfortunately not unique, but part of a system that needs transformation if we are to provide access to high quality care.
We welcome the report’s recommendations for a new aged care act that provides entitlement to the support each individual needs to live independently. We look forward to seeing the development of a new aged care system which is responsive to individual needs and their wellbeing.
In particular, we hope to see Home Care Package waitlists dramatically reduced through increased accountability in our system. We are pleased to see increased funding for workforce training and stability, so the sector is better equipped to meet the needs of all Australians as they age.
In the final report, Commissioner Briggs wrote:
“Life is to be lived. No matter how old we are, how frail or incapacitated we might be, how rich or poor, we all have the fundamental right to wellbeing enjoyment and fulfilment as we age. In order for this aspiration to become reality, our aged care system must be founded on the principles of unfailing compassion – care, dignity and respect.”
We wholeheartedly agree and look forward to working with the Australian Government to make this a reality.