Aged care

The Royal Commission into Aged Care found significant fault in the aged care system as a whole and uncovered neglect, abuse, indifference, and poor leadership. It said one-third of aged care residents received substandard care

While money alone does not solve these problems, current expenditure on aged care is about half that of the average spent by OECD countries with Denmark and Sweden’s expenditure at 4% of GDP, funded by a universal tax base. 

More staff, more training, higher wages, and better oversight are needed for this. The Royal Commission concluded that an extra $10 billion a year would be required.

The 2022-23 budget provided an additional $468.3 million for aged care – a long way short of the Commission’s recommendation.

Aged care staff shortages will be ongoing as the low-paid workforce keeps losing to cost of living rises that are twice the rate of wages growth. And they are exhausted!

Suzanne Rogers, Democrats spokesperson for Aged care

Our plan

A universal right to high quality, safe and timely support and care, free from mistreatment and neglect, inhumane treatment and any form of abuse
Aged care services as a right rather than capped arbitrarily
Supports for people to live as independently as possible, at home or in residential care
Mandatory minimum qualifications and national registration for aged care staff
Care delivered by a qualified, well-trained, well-paid workforce of nurses, personal carers, allied health, and palliative care teams, all with a good understanding of dementia care.
One registered nurse on-site at all times, an appropriate mix of skills, and daily minimum staff time of at least 200 minutes for each resident.
An increase in overall funding of $10 billion a year
Home care packages that are assessed independently and not capped
An independent Inspector-General of Aged Care for better oversight
An NDIS-style program for over 65s for rehabilitation and disability
A reduction in the over-reliance on chemical restraints
A stop to the flow of younger people with disability going into aged care by providing specialised accommodation
Quality of care indicators to be made publicly available and include staff hours, standardised statements of care for home care, and more transparent financial reporting. 

We also called for:

Community-based residential and home services that are inter-connected, auspiced by local government, and with local government playing a role in oversight 
Residential aged care that is, as far as possible, home-like, familiar, stimulating, and welcoming for visitors, informal carers, children, and animals. 
Music, the creative arts, access to gardens, fresh air, and sun – all essential for well-being
Greater integration of aged care with health care system and hospitals better equipped and trained for geriatric care
A rehabilitation first approach so exercise and activity, function and autonomy are maintained for as long as possible
Standards set for dementia-friendly building design and layout 
Aged care staff who are patient, kindly, and trained in best practice in working and communicating with people with dementia and other cognitive impairment
A systematic, sector-wide approach to addressing linguistic and gender diversity and using inclusive practices
Respect for end of life decisions made by people in aged care
A simpler and fairer approach to means-testing
Stronger governance, regulation of the quality of care, prudential regulation, and an independent mechanism to set prices and a system for filling gaps in services. 
Establish a council of elders with membership to include diverse voices with lived experience of aged care
Adopt principles of collaboration and co-design to inform, guide, and review aged care reforms.

See here for more on our plan. Email Suzanne Rogers on [email protected]

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