Four things we have learnt from royal commission into aged care so far…

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1. Billions needed to cut wait times for Home Care Packages

Commissioners were told that the Federal Government would have to find ‘billions of dollars’ to provide 30,000 high-level home care packages in order to reduce current waiting times from 12 months to 3 months.

While recent Government announcements including spending $287 million on 5000 level three and 5000 level four packages have resulted in an increase of Packages available to older Australians, there is still much more to be done.

The federal health department secretary, Ms Beauchamp told the commission that the ‘ballpark’ figure to reduce wait time down to three months would require ‘several billion dollars’ to boost the number of packages.

‘I think also looking at the future is being clear about the levels of support and services around people who are waiting,’ she said.

2. More than 3,700 assaults in Australian Nursing Homes

Over the past financial year there were more than 3,700 assaults in Australian nursing, the aged care royal commission has heard.

This finding is devastating but is considered to be the tip of the iceberg of what later findings may reveal.

The commission also heard that the current care model is flawed because it relied on staff to self-report assault cases.

Meaning that there was likely a number of cases that went unreported.

3. Dementia deaths on the rise

Health and Disability Branch Program Manager at the Australian Bureau of Statistics Justine Louise Boland says the percentage of the Australian population aged 85 is expected to double by 2066.

She says dementia is likely to become the leading cause of death for people in the over-85 age group by 2020, overtaking heart disease.

These findings will hopefully have a positive affect on funding that goes towards research of the disease that affects so many.

4. New Regulations on the use of chemical and physical restraints

Last week the royal commission heard up to 80% of dementia patients were taking some form of psychotropic drug but that they were only useful in 10% of cases.

Ms Beauchamp said the chemical restraints should be used as a ‘last resort’ and that there will be a committee looking into medication mismanagement.

 

It’s important to remember as more findings are released that hopefully this will  build pressure for the Government to act. Whether this is through reforms or additional funding, we hope to see some positive improvements to the overall system.

 

If you or a family member have immediate concerns please contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission on 1800 951 822 or you can lodge a complaint online.

 

 

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