THE head of one of Lake Macquarie’s biggest aged care service providers believes the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will ultimately improve the sector.
Colin Osborne, the CEO of Anglican Care, said the Royal Commission would bring “some clarity about the state of play” in aged care in Australia.
The Royal Commission has started in South Australia, and follows a number of claims of mistreatment of residents in aged care across Australia.
Mr Osborne said the overwhelming majority of aged care staff interactions with residents was positive.
“What we’re talking about is a very, very small number of incidents, but I’m not saying they aren’t important,” he said.
“Some of the examples that we’ve seen get attention in the media are horrific and simply unacceptable.”
Mr Osborne said Australia had a “fundamentally good” aged care system.
“It’s my hope that we will get some recommendations from the Royal Commission that will further enhance the system we have.
“Most importantly, as a result of this process, the community and consumers of aged care services will have a greater level of confidence in the sector, and that can only be a good thing.”
Among the issues Mr Osborne expected to see addressed by the Royal Commission was the level of government funding for training of aged care staff.
“Another issue is the wages disparity between the aged care system and, particularly, the acute care system (hospitals),” he said.
“That makes it difficult to attract qualified health personnel into the aged care sector.”
Some of the examples that we’ve seen get attention in the media are horrific and simply unacceptable.- Colin Osborne
Mr Osborne said government also needed to address delays that some people experienced in receiving home care packages, while “streamlining” was needed to help people navigate the sometimes confusing path to accessing aged care.
“The final thing that needs to be addressed is the interface between the aged care sector and the acute care sector (hospitals) and the primary health sector (general practitioners, nutritionists, podiatrists etc),” he said.
Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, welcomed the Royal Commission.
“We must grasp this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make the aged care system better for all older Australians,” LASA CEO Sean Rooney said.