After a year of speculation and waiting, the interim report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety due next week will offer the sector’s first insights into the findings and proposed changes.
“The evidence shows that the problems are not restricted to any one part of the aged care sector, whether it is for profit or not for profit, large or small facilities, regional or major metropolitan,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said when he announced the Royal Commission last year.
“The Royal Commission will look at the sector as a whole, without bias or prejudice. It will make findings on the evidence. As a Government, and a Parliament, it will be our job to act on these findings together. What matters most is fixing and getting ahead of the problems.”
As of last month, 5,805 submissions had been received by the commission with a further 3,5476 calling the commission’s information line.
Despite the sudden passing of the commission’s chair, the Hon Richard Tracey AM RFD QC, the date of release for the interim report remains October 31.
The Commissioners (the Hon Tony Pagone QC, Ms Lynelle Briggs AO and the late Hon Richard Tracey) were appointed to be a Commission of inquiry, and required and authorised to inquire into matters including:
- the quality of aged care services provided to Australians, the extent to which those services meet the needs of the people accessing them, the extent of substandard care being provided, including mistreatment and all forms of abuse, the causes of any systemic failures, and any actions that should be taken in response;
- how best to deliver aged care services to:
- people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities, including younger people; and
- the increasing number of Australians living with dementia, having regard to the importance of dementia care for the future of aged care services;
- the future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services in Australia, including:
- in the context of changing demographics and preferences, in particular people’s desire to remain living at home as they age; and
- in remote, rural and regional Australia;
- what the Australian Government, aged care industry, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen the system of aged care services to ensure that the services provided are of high quality and safe;
- how to ensure that aged care services are person‑centred, including through allowing people to exercise greater choice, control and independence in relation to their care, and improving engagement with families and carers on care‑related matters;
- how best to deliver aged care services in a sustainable way, including through innovative models of care, increased use of technology, and investment in the aged care workforce and capital infrastructure;
- any matter reasonably incidental to a matter referred to in paragraphs (a) to (f) or that [the Commissioners] believe is reasonably relevant to the inquiry.
“If you want to deal with a problem, you have to be fair dinkum about understanding the full extent of it,” Prime Minister Morrison said. “Whether there is a crisis in aged care or not is to be determined. That is the point of holding a Royal Commission. It is not to pre-determine outcomes.”
A national summit next month will provide the sector with an opportunity to examine the interim report’s findings and prepare for the upcoming changes. The Future of Aged Care- Beyond the Interim Report of the Royal Commission conference unpacks ongoing reform for aged care providers and will equip attendees with strategies to thrive in the evolving space.
The event is running from 19 – 21 November in Melbourne, find out more here.