Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of the Terms of Reference and appointment of Commissioners for the planned Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the Terms of Reference reflected the views of LASA’s Members that the Royal Commission needs to focus on making Australia’s aged care system better.
“LASA strongly asserted that the Royal Commission have a clear outcome to direct its focus and effort on ensuring Australia has a high performing, respected and sustainable aged care system that delivers accessible, affordable, quality care and services for all older Australians. LASA believes the Terms of Reference provide for this outcome,” he said.
“LASA also welcomes the Terms of Reference recognition of the importance of building a national culture of respect for ageing and older persons. This is fundamental to Australia as a nation better supporting the growing numbers of older Australians to age well.”
The Terms of Reference also demonstrate a commitment to relationship-based, person-centred care, whilst also providing scope to consider the many positive examples of high quality care delivered by thousands of dedicated people, volunteers and families every day.”
LASA says it is vital that the Commission also closely examines the impact of the funding levels of Australia’s aged care system, including but not limited to issues of sustainability.
Mr Rooney said the onus for strengthening aged care does not just rest with the Government and the aged care industry, as Australian families and the community also play a role in improving the system.
“The Terms of Reference specifically include often overlooked areas of care such as mental health, personal care and end of life care.
“The inclusion of the interface with other services accessed by people receiving aged care services, including primary health care services, is very pleasing, as this interface has also been shown to be crucial to realising better care outcomes,” Mr Rooney said.
Mr Rooney said it was important that the Royal Commission be open and transparent, providing a forum for all stakeholders to tell their stories with regards to their experiences of Australia’s aged care system.
“A commitment to openness and transparency will afford all involved in the Royal Commission process an opportunity to hear first-hand the personal stories of individuals including older Australians, their families, and aged care staff and their organisations, on their lived experience of the aged care system.”
He said making Australia’s aged care system better is an issue of national importance, as there is no greater challenge for the growing number of older Australians and their families, the Australian Government and the age services industry, than the issues related to supporting older Australians to age well.
“Many of the solutions to realise these outcomes are already on the table. Whilst the Royal Commission is underway we must press on with addressing key workforce and funding issues, and not lose sight of making the system better right now.
“This Royal Commission will play a key role in identifying how to make Australia’s aged care system better,” Mr Rooney said.
“We offer our full support to The Honourable Justice Joseph McGrath and Ms Lynelle Briggs AO who have been appointed Commissioners.
“They are eminent Australians and bring a strong breadth of experience to this process.”
The Commission will deliver an interim report no later than October 2019 and a final report no later than April 2020.