The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport released the final report on Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities on 22 October 2018 (the Report). The Report comes after a series of government inquiries into aged care and with the aged care royal commission being called toward the end of the inquiry (the Terms of Reference of which can be read here).
The Report also reiterated the findings of the earlier investigations including the Tune Review of aged care reform, the Australian Law Reform Commission on elder abuse and the Carnell-Paterson review of aged care quality regulation.
The Report makes 14 recommendations, including:
- A recommendation that the Australian government legislate to ensure that residential aged care facilities provide for a minimum of one registered nurse to be on site at all times, and to specifically monitor and report on the correlation between standards of care and staffing mixes.
- A recommendation that the public be provided with information through the My Aged Care website regarding the number of complaints and reportable incidents that have been lodged, responded to and resolved, and the number of complainants at individual aged care facilities.
- A recommendation that the reportable assault ‘resident-on-resident’ exemption, in which assaults committed by a resident with a cognitive impairment are not required to be reported to the Department of Health, be removed.
- A recommendation that the Aged Care Act 1997 be amended to limit the use of restrictive practices and require that a legal guardian or family member be informed.
- A recommendation that the Department of Health work with the aged care sector to implement a rating system (such as a star or point rating system) for residential aged care facilities and develop an action plan for how such a system could be implemented.
- A recommendation that the Australian Government review the Aged Care Funding Instrument to ensure that is it providing for adequate levels of care for the individual needs of aged care recipient; to review the adequacy of funding levels annually and to review the range of penalties in relation to breaches of ACFI standards by aged care providers.
The government has not yet released a formal response to the Report, however a number of stakeholders, including the AMA, LASA and ACSA have expressed concerns that the findings of the report will be overshadowed the Royal Commission.
A full copy of the report can be found here.