A call for a new accreditation system for aged care centres has been issued in response to the continued findings of inadequate care and neglect in many aged care homes.
The newest findings by The Weekend Australian have found at least another 10 aged care providers lacking substantial levels of care despite previously meeting all the necessary accreditation examples previously.
Of these 10 new cases, one involved that of an 89-year-old war veteran from Queensland. He was found to have been attacked by mice in his nursing home. In another case, a 79-year-old woman died from prolonged heat exposure as a result of being locked out of her aged care home and unable to call for aid.
But what is calling many for a new accreditation system for those providing aged care is the fact that despite these findings, very little is done to discipline those involved. Despite the continued findings over the past few years, only four aged care providers have been sanctioned and had their funding frozen in relation to their poor levels of care.
A Call for Change
Those wishing for tougher accreditation systems are calling on the independent Australian Aged Care Quality Agency to impose these stricter standards.
Many have also called for a staff-to-resident ratio to be imposed alongside this, similar to those found in childcare centres or schools, to ensure residents will always have a staff member on hand for assistance.
Much like the current accreditation system, the proposed new system is primarily for aged care homes receiving government subsidies. Private providers, as well as those with a focus more on home care, respite care, day respites or overnight respites, are generally not affected by the system.
Why the system needs changing
As well as the continued findings of neglect that are made public, many advocates claim many more examples of poor care exist that are simply going unreported or unseen.
A large reason for this, advocates claim, is due to how the current accreditation system works.
Mike Aitken knows all about how aged care homes work, he was previously an operations director for many aged care providers. In relation to the current accreditation system, he said:
“If you’re smart you can get around the system.”
He claims the reason so many aged care providers are able to pass their accreditation assessments is because many receive a notice of visit weeks in advance, which allows homes to over prepare to ensure they pass. Once the assessment is done, things return to how they were before.
“Family members across Australia with a loved one in care can take no comfort whatsoever in the fact that nearly 100 per cent of aged-care homes across Australia are accredited by the agency,” said Lynda Saltarelli, a lobbyist from the Aged Care Crisis group.
And while the government has proposed to introduce a truncated accreditation process in light of all these continued examples of neglect in aged care homes, many feel the change will not be enough.