The Australian Government has announced it will establish a Royal Commission into the care provided by residential and home aged care services to senior Australians and also to young people with disabilities living in aged care homes.
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said the terms of reference have not be drafted but will be determined in consultation with the community, including residents and their families and aged care providers.
Mr Morrison said the Government expected the terms of reference will cover:
• the quality of care provided to older Australians, and the extent of substandard care;
• the challenge of providing care to Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care, particularly younger people with disabilities;
• the challenge of supporting the increasing number of Australians suffering dementia and addressing their care needs as they age;
• the future challenges of and opportunities for delivering aged care services in the context of changing demographics, including in remote, rural and regional Australia; and
• any other matters that the Royal Commission considers necessary.
“Our aged care sector in Australia provides some of the best care in the world, and we are looked to as a leader in the field. Aged care services and training has become an important service export industry for Australia,” Mr Morrison said.
“However, incidences of older people being hurt by failures of care simply cannot be explained or excused. I also want to be assured about the care provided to younger Australians living in the residential aged care facilities.
“As a community we expect high standards for the quality and safety of aged care services. Our Government shares these expectations. This Royal Commission will be about proactively determining what we need to do in the future to ensure these expectations can be met.”
The Royal Commission will look at the aged care sector as a whole.
Mr Morrison said that, with more Australians exercising their choice to stay at home for longer, Australians entering residential aged care these days are doing so with more acute needs.
“This will continue to have a big impact on our residential aged care model in the future. We need to get ahead of this. What matters most is fixing and getting ahead of the problems,” he said.
“The evidence shows that the problems are not restricted to any one part of the aged care sector, whether it is for profit or not for profit, large or small facilities, regional or major metropolitan.
“We also need to get a better handle on what more needs to be done to prepare the system for the increase in demand that will occur in the next decade as the ‘baby boomer’ generation reaches an age where they will need support from the aged care system.”