All residential aged care facilities will now be subject to unannounced visits from auditors, in the hope that this will improve care standards.
This decision was announced late last year as pressure mounted from all the unanswered aged care inquires and the constant stream of media revelations of elder abuse in residential aged care.
‘Unannounced visits’ were only one of ten recommendations made by the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes and this cherry picked recommendation barely scratches the surface of problems in residential aged care.
Talk to any person and they will tell you that going into a nursing home is a last resort. This is not misguided wariness. Horror stories concerning everything from appalling rates of malnourishment, medication mismanagement, festering wounds and premature deaths have been emerging from aged care for a very long time.
These issues do not just stem from the lack of unannounced visits, they reflect a systemic problem with the whole regulatory system, including the complaints handling process and the lack of mandated staffing ratios.