The Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety titled Neglect was released on 31 October 2019 and says the system designed to care for older Australians is woefully inadequate.
Commissioners Richard Tracey AM, RFD, QC and Lynelle Briggs’s AO comment that “The neglect that we have found in this Royal Commission, to date, is far from the best that can be done. Rather, it is a sad and shocking system that diminishes Australia as a nation.”
While there are no specific governance recommendations, the report highlights the poor practices used in the sector and the challenges in recruiting and retaining the right people. It reflects on the “demographic, social and economic pressures” facing the industry, which are critical issues for directors of aged care organisations.
Directors and boards should respond to the interim report by taking active steps to review practices within their business. At a minimum, this should include a review of the following:
- The use of chemical and physical restraints.
- Workforce issues including whether there has been excessive staff turnover.
- Standards of care within their facility in:
- Prevention and management of wounds
- Continence management
- Food, nutrition and hydration
- Policies around palliative care.
Directors may also wish to revisit this AICD article Preparing for the Aged Care Royal Commission which sets out the steps that boards should take to help their organisation’s prepare for the Aged Care Royal Commission.
Organisations should also expect increased contact from family members concerned about revelations in the interim report and the criticisms it makes of the system.
The Final Report, due in November 2020, will focus on governance and accountability in the sector and the need for a “fundamental overhaul of the design, objectives, regulation, and funding of aged care in Australia”.
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