President of Alzheimer’s Australia Ita Buttrose has called for a united commitment to confront variable standards in aged care.
Speaking at Aged and Community Services (ACSA) national conference on Tuesday, Ms Buttrose said she did not understand why some aged care facilities provided high quality care and others, operating within the same funding constraints, failed to meet similar standards.
Ms Buttrose said a minority of facilities were not providing good care and in a small number of cases residents had been subjected to psychological, physical and sexual abuse.
She said families had shared stories of residents in extreme pain, end of life care wishes being ignored and the inappropriate use of chemical and physical restraints.
Ms Buttrose said while some families were “suffering in silence”, she said there was enough evidence to justify raising poor quality care as an issue publicly.
In her speech she called for a collaborative approach between consumers, industry and unions to refocus the reform process on addressing care standards.
“We all know the impact good quality care can have on people’s lives,” she said. “We must come together to ensure that high quality care is one of the primary drivers of reform.”
At the conference Ms Buttrose launched two new reports from Alzheimer’s Australia on the consumer perspective of quality in residential aged care and strategies for the future.
Among the report’s recommendations was a call to extend the mandatory reporting of assaults to include those perpetrated by people with cognitive impairment and to increase the involvement of consumers in monitoring and accreditation.
While she acknowledged funding as a critical issue, Ms Buttrose said leadership and culture change were equally important to ensure that the rights and dignities of older people were respected.
Other key report recommendations:
- Residential aged care standards should require providers to encourage residents to complete advance care plans as soon as appropriate
- Escalation of complaints which relate to serious incidents in the use of medications, use of restraint or assault
- New quality indicators should include information about use of restraint and psychotropic medications. My Aged Care website should also include outcomes of consumer satisfaction surveys.
Read the full report, Quality of residential aged care: the consumer perspective.