A new not-for-profit organisation is calling for the government to allow community-based retired health professionals, social workers and advocates to undertake random inspections of aged care facilities to curb elder abuse.
Greysafe, which was set up early this year and aims to prevent the abuse, neglect and exploitation of older Australians, will write to the Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt urging him to hire an independent team of ‘Grey Guardians’ across Australia.
Chief executive and founder Michael Riley said the new scheme would improve the transparency around the reporting process. “The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) can continue to do the accreditation process, but this inspection scheme that we’re proposing would allow a bit more confidence from the community that there are more inspections taking place, and that they’re happening independently of any agency that’s doing the accreditation process,” Riley said.
Under the scheme:
- The federal government would set a minimum quota for the number of inspections needing to take place across all parts of Australia.
- The government would call for expressions of interest from retired doctors, nurses, social workers and trained professional advocates to form locally based teams of Grey Guardians who would undertake random inspections to both assess and report on the care and condition of aged care residents and the facilities themselves.
- The Grey Guardians would report into an independent office separate from the AACQA.
- Guardians would be locally based in and around their communities, be retired or semi-retired and not currently employed as an aged care assessor with AACQA.
- They would be paid a small stipend to cover costs and would be available to conduct inspections, if required, out of office hours and on weekends.
- Interviews with residents, their families and nursing staff would become the first priority for random inspection visits.
Greysafe is also calling on the government to take out advertising space in major newspapers and publish a report card for the previous three months of the number of assaults in aged care and the details of aged care facilities that have failed to meet 100 per cent compliance with accreditation and random inspection checks.
In the quarterly report card, the government would also publish the numbers of random inspections conducted, the names of the facilities inspected and the findings.
Riley said: “At the moment, because there’s a bit of a crisis of confidence in the community about the whole accreditation and inspection scheme and care of residents, we need a bit more transparency in the system, so this goes some way towards repairing the community’s trust in the aged care system in Australia.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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