PM announces royal commission into aged care sector

Blanche Robertson
September 16, 2018

The Morrison government will establish a royal commission into the aged-care sector in response to damning incidents of neglect, abuse and negligence in nursing homes across the country.

Some of the worst cases raised included a 70-year-old attacked and killed by another elderly resident, the use of restraints, overdosing of patients and the indecent assault of a 99-year-old woman by a male carer.

Council on the Ageing's (COTA) Ian Yates said "chronic systemic failures in our aged care sector must be addressed" and that greater consumer control and choice and tighter regulations were critical to improving safety and quality across the sector.

Mr Morrison says authorities have closed one aged care centre a month since the Oakden nursing home scandal, and an increasing number are under sanction.

The inquiry will focus on residential and in-home aged care for seniors but will also cover care for young people with disabilities who live in aged care homes.

Around one in seven Australians are aged 65 and above, according to 2017 government data, with the proportion of elderly people tipped to reach 22 per cent of the population by 2057.

Morrison said the terms of reference would be determined in consultation with the community, including residents and their families and aged care providers.

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A two-part investigation due to air on the ABC's Four Corners program from Monday will examine the treatment of the elderly in aged-care homes.

The Prime Minister's announcement also follows the alleged abuse of David Nabulsi, 82, in a Bupa aged care facility in Seaforth on Sydney's northern beaches.

He said funding for aged care was at record levels and Australia was a leader in the aged-care field.

'But the best teams will always want to do better, and will always want to be honest about the performance of the sector as a whole'. Official figures show a further 17 aged-care facilities now have sanctions imposed. Do you welcome a royal commission into aged care? Complaints about home and community care rose from about 3900 to 5780 in the same period.

"That is the point of holding a royal commission".

The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association had been calling for a royal commission, saying in June there was a "national crisis" caused by ineffective quality standards and staffing ratios.

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