Aged Home Care – Better care or larger bureaucracy

February 4, 2019

The new Commonwealth funded Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission commenced operation on 1 January 2019.

The Commission combines the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner. The new Commission will accredit, assess and monitor aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government. It will resolve complaints about these services and aims to build confidence and trust in aged care, give greater voice to consumer complaints, support aged care providers to comply with quality standards, and promote best practice service provision.

Madelaine Pelser leads the Eldercare Legal Department at Hutchinson Legal in Ringwood, and is concerned there may be a bureaucratic overreaction caused by the publicity given to rogue operators in the aged care sector. Some operators are already providing excellent and respectful care and Madelaine has expressed concern that operators may be required to divert resources from providing the care our elderly need, to filling in paperwork and documenting every small and sometimes inconsequential event that occurs in an Aged Care Facility.

Care for our elderly should not be compromised, whether it be by a rogue operator, or by overzealous public servants. It is to be hoped the new Commission focuses their efforts on the operators who are either unable or unwilling to lift their standards and provide the care our elderly deserve.

A Royal Commission into aged care was established on 8 October 2018 and the Commissioners are required to provide an interim report by 31 October 2019, and a final report by 30 April 2020. Grant Hutchinson, serving as director of an Aged Care Facility, notes the Royal Commission will be placing webcasts of their hearings online (https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/hearings/Pages/Webcast.aspx) and has watched the opening of the Royal Commission held on 18 January 2019. He also expects to personally attend the hearings conducted by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in Melbourne.

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Madelaine Pelser

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