Aged Care system failures diminish Australia

Published on Mon 25 November 2019 4:31pm

It should be a foundation stone of our social compact that frail and vulnerable older Australians can live safely, in comfort and dignity, without pain and with love.

Mr Wilson (4:31pm) — We can test the values and standards that should be clearly visible in Australian life by looking at how we care for the most vulnerable members of our community, including many older Australians. Thirty per cent of people over 65 years of age rely on some form of aged care. That is 1.2 million Australians. About three-quarters receive some form of assistance while remaining in their own home, and about a quarter are in residential aged care. It should be a foundation stone of our social compact that frail and vulnerable older Australians can live safely, in comfort and dignity, without pain and with love. But unfortunately that’s often not the case. Indeed, it’s the judgement of the interim report of the royal commission into aged care that our present arrangements constitute ‘a sad and shocking system that diminishes Australia’.

Among many failures there is an over-reliance on chemical restraints, and there are thousands of young people with disability in residential aged care. There are 120,000 older Australians waiting for a home care package support that has been approved. We know that in the course of a single year 16,000 people died while waiting for a home care package that had been approved but not delivered. This government has not responded to the crisis in aged care. Indeed, they cut $1.2 billion from the sector and they walked away from Labor’s workplace compact, with its emphasis on training and fair pay for the carers who are at the heart of quality aged care.

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