Royal Commission research finds 40% of aged care residents experience abuse and neglect – from sample of 400 residents

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With just five weeks until the deadline for its Final Report, the Royal Commission into Aged Care continues to make headlines – again based on research that uses questionable sampling.

The Commission’s latest 10-page research paper – its 17th, titled ‘Experimental Estimates of the Prevalence of Elder Abuse in Australian Aged Care Facilities’ – concludes that around 39.2% of people living in Australian aged care homes experience elder abuse in the form of neglect, emotional abuse or physical abuse.

Of these three types of elder abuse, the most prevalent was estimated to be neglect (experienced by 30.8% of people), followed by emotional abuse (22.6%) and physical abuse (5%).

Financial, social and sexual abuse were not able to be included in the research because of the lack of data available.

However, the estimates were gathered using data from the Royal Commission’s residential aged care survey previously conducted by the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI).

That research – which we covered here last October and looked at aged care residents’ perspectives of residential care – relied on a sample of just 391 residents – or where necessary, their representatives – from 67 aged care homes between January and mid-March 2020 before the survey was shut down early due to COVID.

The Commission says the paper provides a platform to further the research into elder abuse prevalence and prevention in Australian aged care facilities.

One would hope future research would be based on a more comprehensive sample.

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About Author

Lauren is the Editor at DCM Group and has guided its range of media including The Weekly SOURCE, The Daily RESOURCE and The Donaldson Sisters since 2016. With 13 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and commentator, Lauren is the only journalist to have attended every session of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, producing 300 issues of the subscriber-only The Daily COMMISSION which offers exclusive insights and analysis of the issues surrounding the Royal Commission and the aged care sector.