New protections for older Australians

Paul Hayes

16/11/2018 11:39:35 AM

Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt has announced two new initiatives designed to tackle elder abuse.

Ken Wyatt believes stopping elder abuse ‘is everyone’s responsibility’.
Ken Wyatt believes stopping elder abuse ‘is everyone’s responsibility’.

In what has been described as a world-first, the Federal Government has announced an elder abuse prevention and support framework and a new digital aged care staff training system designed to protect vulnerable older Australians.
‘Preventing and addressing elder abuse is a top priority, and aged care advocacy and giving a voice to senior Australians play a crucial part in this,’ Minister Wyatt said.
The initiatives have been developed by the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) with funding from the Federal Government.
‘The new national framework – developed from advocacy experience in Western Australia and South Australia – aligns services to prevent elder abuse and will allow OPAN’s advocates in every state and territory to better support senior Australians, and provide even stronger advocacy for their rights and protection,’ Minister Wyatt said.
‘The new aged care staff training tool, ‘Talk to us first’, is an innovative way to help aged care providers educate their workforce about OPAN’s services and how to help care recipients and their families access aged care advocacy.
‘It also highlights the importance of increasing awareness of the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities.’
The new initiatives come in the wake of the recently announced Royal Commission into Aged Care.
Serious issues have plagued the aged care sector, including poor standards of carephysical assaults and extremely challenging working conditions. In particular, last year’s revelations of abuse, neglect and mistreatment at a mental health care service in Oakden, South Australia, sent shockwaves that served to greatly undermine trust in the care being provided.
In addition, the OPAN WA service provider Advocare has reported a significant rise in calls to the state’s elder abuse helpline.
‘Advocare regularly receives around 60 calls a month about elder abuse concerns, but these rose to over 100 in October,’ Minister Wyatt said.
‘Stopping the abuse of our elders – be it financial, physical or emotional – is everyone’s responsibility and we owe it to senior Australians to ensure they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.’

Aged care elder abuse OPAN

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