Accreditation too lax

Letter, The Age

While there are some excellent aged care homes, recent reports of medical negligence, neglect and inadequate personal care suggest that numerous providers prioritise profits over residents’ quality of life. How do such homes pass accreditation? Ten years ago, a Senate committee held an inquiry into the sector. Its report criticised the accreditation standards, finding them too generalised to effectively measure care outcomes. Unfortunately, vague phrases such as adequate nourishment and hydration, effective continence management, optimum levels of mobility and sufficient staff continue to be used.

Consider the case of a friend. She has been classified correctly as a “falls risk” – meaning she is not permitted to walk without a staff member. Due to insufficient staff and a culture that sees many residents spend most of the day immobile, her son has sole responsibility for “maximising her mobility”.

Given that the accreditation process enables aged-care facilities to receive government funding, it should be a rigorous assessment not a rubber stamp.

Sarah Russell, Aged Care Matters

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