How aged care needs to change: It will be written
IF Counsel Assisting the Aged Care Royal Commission get their way, the Aged Care Act 1997 will go where it belongs, in the rubbish bin. So will current aged care standards and the Charter of Aged Care Rights.
The Department of Health will be relieved of much of its aged care functions, because they made and continue to make such a hash of aged care. The only remedy is to get rid of them.
Instead, we will have a new Act based on human rights principles.
We will have an aged care system where you get care when you need it. No waiting lists, like we have now. If you want a nursing home, you’ll get it. Home care? You’ll get it.
We will have mandated staffing ratios in residential aged care.
Instead of the Department of Health and an aged care watchdog that ceased nursing homes inspections when COVID struck and they were most needed, we will have an independent Australian Aged Care Commission that will be responsible for administering and regulating the aged care system.
We will have the same disability care for people over 65 as for people under 65, who qualify for the NDIS.
We will have GPs who specialise in aged care and visit nursing homes, where they will liaise with registered nurses.
Only geriatricians and psychiatrists will be able to put people on antipsychotic drugs, putting an end to the practice of doping nursing home residents to the eyeballs to keep them easy to manage.
We will have providers who will have a statutory duty of care and there will be penalties and compensation where this duty is breached.
We will have a long, long battle ahead of us to get all these things. Even Counsel Assisting the Aged Care Royal Commission have an implementation timeline spanning some four or five years.
But the good thing is that, if the Aged Care Royal Commissioners adopt the advice of Counsel Assisting them, it won’t just be an army of committed private activists, Aged Care Crisis and CPSA saying we need these things.
It will be written.