OCAV WELCOMES ROYAL COMMISSION INTO AGED CARE WITH CAVEATS

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OCAV WELCOMES ROYAL COMMISSION INTO AGED CARE WITH CAVEATS

March 2, 2021

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report is welcomed for its bold and extensive plan to overhaul Australia’s aged-care system.

However, Phillip Wohlers, CEO of the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria, said that the fact that the commissioners were divided on several larger and smaller recommendations, it makes the plan to reform potentially more difficult.

“In our view, it reduces the power of the entire report, and allows the government to choose recommendations which it likes,” he said.

The report, with 148 recommendations, calls for a new system underpinned by a rights-based Act, funding based on need, and much stronger regulation and transparency.

“If the major recommendations are followed through, we will have a transformed aged care system over the next five years,” Mr Wohlers said.

OCAV has welcomed the person-centric approach to the reform, which it says brings aged care more in line with the principles of Medicare.

“OCAV already adopts a person-centric philosophy, and our model of continuum of care from independent living through to aged care enables us to support our residents at all stages of ageing,” said Mr Wohlers.

OCAV has also welcomed the recommendation for a new Aged Care Act which it says is long overdue.

The call for stronger governance is supported by OCAV, and particularly the call by Commissioner Pagone for an independent commissioner to be responsible for aged care, at arms’ length from the health department.

“This is important as it will bring an end to ‘patchwork’ politics and policies which have long-dogged aged care,” Mr Wohlers said.

The call to improve workforce conditions and skills is timely says OCAV but it remains cautious about how these reforms will play out.

Mr Wohlers said that he was pleased to see that staffing ratios had not been recommended but rather minimum staff time with residents. The report calls on aged care facilities to ensure that by July 2022, this would be at least 200 minutes per resident per day for the average resident, with at least 40 minutes of that time with a registered nurse.

“We argued in our submission that the focus should be on the quality of outcomes through better models of care not staffing ratios. We know from our experience that good quality care can be and is being delivered with PCAs working alongside enrolled nurses, carers and volunteers,” Mr Wohlers said.

OCAV is also concerned with the lack of detail about funding aged care and what it would cost to carry out the recommendations.

“We know from research that most Australians are willing to pay extra taxes for aged care, and we are pleased to see that this has been acknowledged. However, the devil is in the lack of detail,” Mr Wohlers said.

In its submission to the Royal Commission, OCAV argued for a change to the funding instrument and model to drive best practice, take account of changing demographics, an increasing ageing population and increasing incidence of co-morbidity and chronic disease.

OCAV calls on the Federal Government to act on the many recommendations contained in the report.

“To date there have been 29+ reviews into aged care over the past ten years. These have well-considered recommendations, most of which have not been implemented. We don’t want this to happen again,” Mr Wohlers said.

#ItsTimeToCareAboutAgedCare

 

"There is nothing I would change that would make my life any better. I have two loving sons and family and I thank God every day that OCAV took me in when I had nothing," said Jill Dale, Braeside Park resident.

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