The media has been reporting story after story of appalling treatment in aged care homes. But aged care is much more than residential care. It also includes home care packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Opinion Piece in Michael West
A new independent study by Dr Sarah Russell, of Research Matters, titled ‘Working Well in an Aged Care Home’ asked staff to fill out a survey on what they enjoy about their jobs. Conor Burke reports
Last week, HelloCare invited me to comment on the requirement in the new Aged Care Quality Standards for open disclosure. I suggested all aged care homes and home care providers should be required to report adverse incidents not only to the older person and their family but also on their websites.
I am pleased both Ian Yates (CEO, COTA) and Darren Mathewson (Acting CEO of ACSA) have contested this idea for improving transparency. I always welcome debate. A public debate about transparency in the aged care sector is long overdue.
This is my response.
While some older people are enjoying their wealth – travelling the world, their luggage broadcasting that they are spending their children’s inheritance – others live in aged care homes, with their children keeping their eyes peeled on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.
Recently, a woman contacted me because a 94-year-old woman was resuscitated in an aged care home despite having an advance care plan stipulating Do Not Resuscitate. Rather than die peacefully after breakfast, this woman had a slow and painful death in a hospital palliative care unit.
Aged Care Insite
A confidential internal inquiry into the office of the Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt was leaked to the media during the recent election campaign. The journalist described the leaker as a “whistle blower.”
Whistle blowers are honourable people who are motivated by altruistic intentions. Anonymous disgruntled staff members who are dissatisfied with the outcome of an internal grievance process are not whistle blowers.
I have never worked in Minister Wyatt’s office so I do not have inside knowledge. However, this leak had all the markings of a political attack.
Our democracy depends on the robust contest of policies. Yet so far the federal election campaign has been dominated by personal insults, pork barrelling and heated discussions about preference deals. I’ve hardly heard a whisper from candidates about their party’s aged care policies.
I am standing as a candidate for Reason Australia in my local electorate (Cooper in inner city Melbourne) so I can put aged care in the election spotlight. Reason brings an evidence-based approach to all its policies, including aged care policies.
Aged care needs evidence-based, not opinion-based, policies. It also needs kindness. Rather than listen to the opinions of the usual suspects who are part of the broken system that has failed older Australians, we need new thinking. To quote Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.
Talk given to Leadership team of Care Connect on March 25 2019
Legislation mandates open disclosure in all public health services in Australia. However, there is no legislative requirement for open disclosure in an aged care home.