Australia’s peak age services body, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), welcomed the release of an interim report regarding Effectiveness of the Aged Care Quality Assessment and accreditation framework for protecting residents from abuse and poor practices, and ensuring proper clinical and medical care standards are maintained and practiced by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee.
A Senate Inquiry into aged care regulatory processes was conducted after failures of care were identified at the Mack and McLeay wards in South Australia’s Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said quality in aged care is not negotiable.
”There are no excuses for the failures in care that were identified at Oakden – it breaches the guidelines, processes and standards that are in place to ensure high quality care for older Australians,” Mr Rooney said.
“In this context, the interim report calls into question the roles played by relevant South Australian authorities and the aged care quality regulator. This also gives rise to concerns regarding the regulator’s ability to effectively apply the aged care system’s quality and oversight frameworks more broadly, which the Committee has said will be further investigated.
“As an industry we all have a role to play in seeking to continuously maintain and improve high standards in quality care and service. This is what the community expects, and the quality standards demand, in order for our industry to maintain its ‘social licence to operate’.
“Age services providers, government and the community all share a desire for a high performing aged care sector. The concerns identified in the interim report must be addressed in order to retain the confidence across older Australians, their families, providers of age services and the wider community.”
Mr Rooney said the report’s findings also need to be considered alongside existing work in response to the Carnell Paterson Review and the new single aged care quality framework.
“The interim recommendation that dementia care be reclassified as a ‘health service’ could have far reaching implications for both the aged care and health sectors. This will require further detailed examination.”
LASA will continue to engage with the government as responses to the different aged care quality inquiries are forumulated.
“As an industry, we are committed to ensuring that catastrophic breaches of quality standards, such as those at Oakden, can never happen again.
“To do this we need an accreditation system that assures the community of the safety, wellbeing and quality of life for older Australians living in residential aged care,” Mr Rooney said.