Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, welcomes the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s Interim report as a signal for urgent changes to Australia’s aged care system.

The Commission has found that the aged care system fails to meet the needs of our older, often very vulnerable, citizens. It does not deliver uniformly safe and quality care for older people.  It is unkind and uncaring towards them. In too many instances, it simply neglects them.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney says the report will help to enable high performing, respected, and sustainable age services that support older Australians to age well by providing care, support and accommodation with quality, safety and compassion – always.

“This is a beacon for immediate reform, a critical pointer to ensure older Australians receive the quality care and respect they need and deserve.”

The Commissioners have identified three areas where immediate action can be taken:

  • to provide more home care packages to reduce the waiting list for higher level care at home
  • to respond to the significant over-reliance on chemical restraint in aged care, including through the seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement
  • to stop the flow of younger people with a disability going into aged care, and speed up the process of getting out those young people are already in aged care.

“We 100 per cent back the need for reform of the aged care system. It is unacceptable that the system does not deliver uniformly safe and quality care,” said Mr Rooney.

“The Commissioners are right to say that this shocking tale of neglect diminishes Australia as a nation and it is time for a reality check.

“While the Royal Commission identifies the need for ‘a fundamental overhaul of the design, objectives, regulation and funding of aged care’, the report must prompt action to improve the aged care system now.

“Our sector is steadfast in our commitment to do better and to hold to account any individual or organisation that is either unwilling or unable to meet industry standards and community expectations.

LASA remains fully committed to its national Working While We Wait campaign, as the Royal Commission continues its vital work. LASA seeks rapid Government action to provide:

  • Additional funding of $1.3 billion this calendar year to guarantee residential aged care service quality and continuity
  • At least $500 million a year for more home care packages, to reduce wait times to 90 days
  • Improvements in dementia care, including strategies to improve behaviour management and reduce restraint
  • Regulatory reform to allow service differentiation, and
  • Rapid progress on the work of the Aged Care Industry Workforce Council, to support aged care staff and fast-track solutions to workforce issues highlighted by the Royal Commission

“Getting workforce right is fundamental to getting care right,” said Mr Rooney. “Our dedicated aged care workers have reported to the Royal Commission high levels of job satisfaction but high levels of stress, feeling over-worked and over-scrutinised, as well as under-paid and under-valued.

“It’s critical the Interim Report and the ongoing Royal Commission hearings prompt a national conversation about respect for elders, to reduce ageism and elder abuse and grow age-friendly communities,” he said.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change and is too important not to get right.

“Our sector must regain the trust of the Australian community by working together to solve the problems because how we care for our elders speaks to who we are as nation.

“As the report concludes, we must work together as a nation to ensure that older people are a critical part of our present, a valued part of our community.”

About Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)

LASA is the national association for all providers of age services across residential care, home care and retirement living/seniors housing. Our purpose is to enable high performing, respected, and sustainable age services that support older Australians to age well by providing care, support and accommodation with quality, safety and compassion – always.

We represent providers of age services of all types and sizes located across Australia’s metropolitan, regional and rural areas. Consistent with the overall industry profile, 56% of our Members are not-for-profit providers, 36% are for-profit providers and 8% are government providers.

Our diverse and representative membership gives LASA the ability to speak with credibility and authority on issues of importance to older Australians and the age services industry.

Download the media release

Contact: David O’Sullivan 0427 138 024 davido@lasa.asn.au