Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) CEO Sean Rooney said it is tragic and unacceptable that older Australians have been subjected to the kinds of abuse outlined in ABC’s Four Corners program tonight.

“Elder abuse is a critical issue. It can involve physical, emotional, psychological or financial abuse of an older person. Any incident of elder abuse in an aged care setting must be treated with the utmost seriousness,” Mr Rooney said.

“The examples highlighted by Four Corners were deplorable. It is sickening to see vulnerable people in an aged care setting abused. And it is saddening to see the effect this has on them and their loved ones.

“It is unfortunate that the actions of a small number of staff reflects so poorly on the broader aged care system. Over 200,000 people live in residential aged care homes in any given year and the overwhelming majority of them receive high standards of care from passionate and professional staff.”

Mr Rooney said the age services industry is an industry in transformation, with recent commitments from Government signaling a renewed focus on the needs of older Australians and making the aged care system better.

“A new independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, with a new set of safety and quality standards, and improved transparency and complaint reporting will commence on 1 January 2019,” Mr Rooney said.

“These changes, alongside the introduction of unannounced re-accreditation visits that came into effect on 1st July 2018, will drive quality improvements in the aged care system and help restore confidence for the community and providers alike.

“These improvements will support better outcomes for the 4 out 5 Australians over the age of 85 who receive combinations of care, support, services or accommodation in our aged care system.”

Mr Rooney said LASA represented providers of age services of all types and sizes located across Australia’s metropolitan, regional and rural areas.

“Our reform agenda on behalf of our Members is clear. We need to make the aged care system better and more accountable right now. To do this we need:

  • A more effective regulatory and standards regime so that if providers are not delivering appropriate quality of care that they are quickly identified and sanctioned, or shut down.
  • Development of our industry workforce in line with the Workforce Taskforce Strategy to deliver an increased number of staff with appropriate qualifications and skills, opportunities for ongoing learning and advancement, and ensure that staff receive appropriate remuneration.
  • An urgent increase in Government funding to better resource the aged care system.

“Ageing and aged care are issues of national importance. It is beholden on everyone involved in the aged care system to work together to make the aged care system better.”