A rating system for facilities and requirement for there to be one registered nurse on site at all times have been listed among the recommendations of an inquiry into the aged care system.
Released this week by the Health, Aged Care and Sport Committee, it examined the delivery and regulation of the current aged care system and the prevalence of mistreatment.
The inquiry was nearing its end as the government announced a royal commission into aged care.
In his foreword for the report, Committee chair and MP Trent Zimmerman said gaps in the current residential aged care system revealed by the submissions received included the complexity of the current system, a reluctance or inability to raise concerns or make complaints regarding the quality of care, and an overall lack of consumer focus.
Zimmerman said the committee welcomed the royal commission announcement but added it should not delay the implementation of improvements recommended in the report and other recent reviews.
The report made 14 recommendations:
- The development of national guidelines for the Community Visitors Scheme, including policies related to observed or suspected abuse or neglect
- A review of the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) to ensure it is providing for adequate levels of care, is indexed annually and includes for penalty breaches
- A Medicare Benefits Schedule review of medical practitioner visits to residential aged care facilities
- That one registered nurse is always on site in residential aged care facilities and that there is monitoring and reporting on the correlation between standards of care and staffing mixes
- That the Department of Health make available consumer information, including the Charter of Rights, for aged care residents and their families is available in a wider range of languages
- An independent review and parliamentary inquiry into the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission after two years of operation
- Ensuring that unannounced visits by regulators to residential aged care facilities are not confined to business hours
- The removal of the reportable assault ‘resident-on-resident’ exemption in which assaults committed by a resident with a cognitive impairment are not required to be reported to the Department of Health
- The National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program be expanded to include a broader range of key indicators and be mandatory for government-funded providers
- Amending the Aged Care Act 1997 to limit and place conditions on the use of restrictive practices in residential aged care facilities
- That the Department of Health work with the aged care sector to implement a rating system (like a star or point rating system) for residential aged care facilities
- Making information regarding the number of complaints and complainants at individual aged care facilities available on the My Aged Care website
- That the government examine ways to ensure all consumers have access to the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) advisory services, and
- That Government agencies responsible for the delivery of aged care services commit to a more consumer-oriented focus.
Leading Aged Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney said the report delivers many recommendations aimed at driving increased resourcing and improving quality in the industry.
Zimmerman, as Committee chair, will also hold a roundtable public hearing in Canberra on Friday as part of its Inquiry into the Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018.
The Committee will hear from aged care providers, government agencies, peak bodies, and professional nursing and medical associations.
“The inquiry is expected to provide the Committee with a range of perspectives on the Bill, including whether or not it should be passed and also highlight broader issues regarding levels of staffing for aged care services,” Zimmerman said.Do you have an idea for a story?
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