Terms of reference for aged care royal commission revealed

newsGP writers

10/10/2018 3:49:40 PM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will provide an interim report by 31 October 2019 with a final report due on 30 April 2020.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will provide an interim report by 31 October 2019 with a final report due on 30 April 2020.

The Federal Government has announced the terms of reference of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
A judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia and a former Chief Executive of Medicare Australia have been appointed to lead the commission, which will be based in Adelaide.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Justice Joseph McGrath and Lynelle Briggs bring strong investigative skills and extensive experience in corporate and public sector governance to the royal commission.
‘A key task of the royal commission will be to help build a national culture of respect for ageing and older Australians,’ Prime Minister Morrison said.
The royal commission comes in the wake of serious issues that have plagued the aged care sector, including poor standards of care, physical 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.
The royal commission will submit an interim report by 31 October 2019 with a final report due on 30 April 2020.
The Government inquiry will primarily examine residential aged care facilities and home care services, but will also look at the care provided to young people with disabilities who live in aged care homes.
The royal commission’s terms of reference include:

  • quality and safety including the extent of substandard care
  • how to best deliver care services to people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities, including younger people
  • how to best deliver care to the increasing number of Australians living with dementia
  • the future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services, including people’s desire to remain living at home as they age, and aged care in rural, regional and remote Australia
  • what the Government, the aged care sector, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen care services to ensure quality and safety
  • how to allow people greater choice, control and independence and how to improve engagement with families and carers
  • how to best deliver sustainable aged care services through innovative care and investment in the aged care workforce and infrastructure
  • any matters that the commissioners believe is relevant to their inquiry.
The RACGP has made a submission to the terms of reference focusing on three main categories:
  • Government oversight and management
  • Role of aged care facilities in a modern health system
  • Clinical governance in aged care facilities
RACGP President-elect Dr Harry Nespolon earlier welcomed the commitment to restore trust in aged care. He said GPs have long been concerned over conditions in the sector and has called for ‘real action’ to ensure the delivery of quality care.
‘For a long time, GPs have been concerned with the lack of investment and the inadequate staffing levels within residential aged care facilities,’ Dr Nespolon told newsGP.
‘Due to inconsistent staffing and investment, some medical practitioners have been … placed in a position where they cannot provide the best possible care to their patients.
‘This review provides an opportunity to genuinely improve healthcare services for some of Australia’s most vulnerable patients.’
The RACGP is currently updating its Medical care of older persons in residential aged care facilities (Silver Book).
Professor Gerard Gill, GP and Alfred Felton Chair of General Practice for Rural and Regional Victoria told newsGP the real problem with the aged care system is the lack of government funding.
‘Basically the average survival of someone in aged care is less than three years, and about a third of people die six months after they are admitted,’ Professor Gill told newsGP.
‘So this is actually the sickest group in the Australian population … and the Government has not really funded general practice to deal with these people, because these people are really complex, take a lot of care, and we get paid peanuts for looking after them.’
Professor Gill also believes that staffing – which is also linked to funding – is an issue that needs to be addressed in residential aged care, particularly in terms of employment of registered nurses.
‘The amount of money that the various state awards pay nurses in nursing homes are well below what you might get in the acute care sector,’ he said. ‘And this is an area where as a nurse, if you are looking after 60 really sick people, you’ve got to take a lot of responsibility. The nursing workforce is under-appreciated and underpaid.’

aged care royal commission Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

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Christine Jordan   15/10/2018 12:45:18 PM

Please do not leave out Independent Retirement living - they now have the right to aged care but pay maintenance fees as well as aged care. If they suddenly need full aged care they will be entirely dependant on Federal funds as they will have been milked both ways. Legislation needs to be changed as Independant living is State to State - the Kathyn Greiner OM report & the State Policy in WA for Independant Ombudsman demonstrate the case.

Malvern Leonard Maslen   22/01/2019 12:54:56 PM

Having experienced the care provided in low care and high care for my mother in-law at Northridge Salem Toowoomba ( still in high care this date), the following observations have been made. 1. there is not enough staff (carers), to provide the level required in both high and low care. This includes registered nurses, carers and catering staff. At times residents are left to their own devises for extended periods and this creates concern from both resident and relatives. So mine and other relatives would like to see increased staffing in the fore-mentioned positions.

Jennifer Simmonds   28/02/2019 5:55:50 PM

Mum was officially diagnosed with dementia on 14 Feb. However, to get the special dementia subsidy to her aged care package she has to have dementia on a different scale for the DHHS. So off we go again in 36 degrees, poor mum puking the whole way. The assessment the DHHS want is one a 150 yr old van do, most questions based on school knowledge and people if the 40s. The government obviously doesn’t want to pay this subsidy. Luckily mum got it - by one point, even though diagnosed with severe dementia on the other assessment. Our aged care system sux. Poor mum was so sick travelling. Worst thing is any GP can do this assessment according to DHHS but no GP said they could! We had to go to a geriatrician who the first time did not even know he was doing the wrong assessment! It is easy to find and print on the internet! It should be compulsory for ALL GPS as DHHS day they - GOs - do handle these assessments!