Silence on elder abuse

Letter, The Age

Mr Turnbull responded quickly and appropriately to Four Corner’s report into the abuse of youths in the NT corrections system. How long before he responds to Monday night’s ABC’s 7:30 program into elder abuse? Over the past few years, there have been numerous reports of elder abuse in aged care homes. There have also been several government inquiries into aged care homes. The federal government’s ‘‘Future of Australia’s aged care sector workforce’’ (2016) received 73 submissions from staff and relatives who are extremely concerned about declining standards of care in aged care homes. How many more inquiries describing neglect and elder abuse will be needed before a royal commission into residential aged care is held?

Unlike in child-care centres, hospitals and schools, there is no federal legislative requirement for aged care homes to have mandated staff-to-resident ratios or skill pre-requisites; or even have a registered nurse on site. Without registered nurses in aged care homes, the risk of elder abuse increases.

To ensure older Australians receive the quality of care they deserve, aged care homes require greater scrutiny, accountability and transparency.

Sarah Russell, Northcote

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