The Australian joins in the ‘Aged Care in Crisis’ media movement

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The Australian newspaper has now joined the Sydney Morning Herald in its aged care investigation, outlining how the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) has “repeatedly failed to detect shocking cases of inadequate care and neglect”, resulting in calls for an overhaul of the “tick-a-box” accreditation system.

The story cites at least 10 aged care homes that formally met all of the agency’s 44 accreditation standards in recent years despite later findings that they failed to provide a reasonable standard of care.

They also refer to a number of cases including one in which a QLD 89-year-old war veteran was attacked by mice in his bed and another involving an elderly dementia sufferer who died after falling into a fountain in a Melbourne home’s courtyard.

Despite this, their analysis concludes only four or 0.14% of the nation’s 2,678 homes had sanctions imposed and funding frozen for failing to comply with standards.

Mark Aitken, a former operations director with several companies in the sector, is quoted as saying he would encourage people not to put a family member into aged care given the “weak regulation and poor standards” in some homes.

Lynda Saltarelli from lobby group Aged Care Crisis says the agency was “run for the industry rather than for community members”.

“Family members across Australia with a loved one in care can take no comfort whatsoever in the fact that nearly 100 per cent of aged care homes across Australia are accredited by the (agency),” she said.

An agency spokeswoman says the agency had revoked the accreditation of 18 homes since 2000, but accreditation alone could not protect individuals.