Almost a third of aged care residents experience neglect, according to estimates in the aged care royal commission’s latest research paper.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety research used the commissions’ survey data of 391 aged care residents across 67 facilities previously collected by the National Ageing Research Institute.
While the survey was not conducted to measure the prevalence of abuse, the royal commission used the responses to create experimental estimates of the prevalence of abuse in residential aged care.
The research includes neglect, emotional and physical abuse, but not financial, social or sexual abuse because the survey did not include appropriate questions to cover these, the report said.
The research estimates that 39 per cent of aged care residents experience some form of neglect, emotional abuse, or physical abuse.
Neglect is estimated as the most prevalent (31 per cent) and includes residents who reported concerns over help with eating, showering, going to the toilet, getting around, grooming, or using continence aids.
It also includes concerns about managing medication or wounds, accessing a doctor, dentist or allied health service, or the amount of time staff spend attending their individual needs, the report said.
This is followed by emotional abuse (23 per cent), which includes resident reports of feeling forced to be dependent on staff, treated like a child, being forced to wear continence pads or shouted at by staff, and not having their specific care needs listened to.
The report estimates that 5 per cent of residents experience physical abuse, which includes residents who reported being restrained, hurt or treated roughly by staff, or not being allowed out of their bed, chair, room or outside.
When residents concerns considered too minor are excluded, the research estimates 21 per cent of aged care residents experience neglect (19 per cent), emotional abuse (5 per cent) and physical abuse (1 per cent).
The research also looked at elder abuse internationally and found psychological abuse is the most prevalent (33 per cent) followed by physical and financial (14 per cent each), neglect (12 per cent) and sexual abuse (2 per cent).
Access the Research Paper 17 – Experimental Estimates of the Prevalence of Elder Abuse in Australian Aged Care Facilities here.