It’s a tale of two aged care stories tonight on the national broadcaster.
ABC journalist Anne Connolly – best known for the Four Corners ‘Who Cares?’ investigation in 2018 that went to air 24 hours before Scott Morrison announced the Royal Commission – has led an investigation into Regis’ Nedlands aged care home in Perth, which was recently in the headlines after work experience students made allegations of elder abuse.
In a statement released on Monday, Regis confirmed that a police investigation of the home found no evidence of criminality, but their own independent investigation is ongoing (see important points from the investigation below).
The accompanying story to the yet-to-air 7:30 piece is lengthy, running to over 3,000 words.
The ABC has invested in the story with impressive graphics by the ABC’s Story Lab, intercutting video and images of residents and their families.
The report will provide a colourful introduction to tonight’s episode of Q+A, airing at 8:30pm, which will focus on aged care ahead of the deadline for the Royal Commission’s Final Report tomorrow.
Guests will include:
- Mike Baird, the CEO of HammondCare and former NSW Premier
- Jane Halton, Chair of COTA Australia and former head of Australia’s Finance Department
- Joseph Ibrahim, Professor at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University
- Clare O’Neil, Shadow Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services
- Katie Allen, Liberal Member for Higgins
Q+A says it will be asking the questions: “are we failing our older citizens?”
“What needs to change? And are there are alternative models for aged care we should be exploring?”
Both programs to watch.
Independent investigation at Regis’ Nedlands aged care home
Critically, Regis’ investigation has found that the media was provided with a document containing the allegations which was compiled by a third party and included untested and unverified reports and information identifying residents and staff.
“The release of this information was a breach of privacy and trust, and has caused substantial harm to residents, families and employees. Enquiries into the circumstances of the document and its distribution continue and will inform the Investigation. Importantly, we are confident that the students did not compile the document, review the document or receive the document,” they state.
The independent investigator has also not been able to substantiate any of the allegations.
“While the Investigation is not yet complete, there is no evidence to substantiate the allegation of physical abuse or sexual assault,” the investigator said.
“There is no evidence beyond the allegation document that a resident was dragged or had their toes stood on.”
“The investigating team has not found any malicious intent in the way that staff have interacted with Regis residents.”
“While the majority of the allegations, including physical abuse and sexual misconduct, have not been substantiated, the investigating team has found there are some service areas that can be improved.”
Regis has also promised to make the results of their investigation public once it is complete.
The provider adds that it has fully complied with all actions and all requirements by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC), which applied regulatory penalties to the home, including a Sanction and a Notice to Agree.
“Regis lodged a request for review of the ACQSC Sanction within the strict 14-day time limit on the basis of the Investigation progress at that point. Regis noted within that application that the Investigation was ongoing and that Regis would provide the ACQSC with the Investigation findings once complete.”