21/03/18 - Figures Show Aged Care Industry Providing High-Quality Care to Residents

Key Points

  • Aged care industry is committed to excellence in care
  • Aged care providers care for over 25,000 South Australians every day
  • There are 277 facilities providing residential aged care in South Australia
  • Figures show that the quality regime has encouraged ongoing improvement in practice
  • Oakden shows that staffing ratios are no silver bullet to quality problems

The Aged Care Industry Association (ACIA) has welcomed the release of compliance information by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA). The Association has expressed its concern at misleading reporting of the information.

The Association, which represents aged care providers, said that the data from AACQA showed an industry achieving high-quality care provision and committed to continuous improvement.

CEO Luke Westenberg said, “There are 277 facilities in South Australia providing residential aged care; the data released by AACQA shows that 93% of these facilities were found to meet all 44 accreditation standards.”

“Notices of Non-Compliance reflect areas in which practices need improvement – they are a sign of ongoing enhancement in quality of care.”

“Reporting these figures as a sign of serious risk is a disservice to all the South Australians who receive care, and who provide care, in these facilities.”

“The real issue is how the scandalous situation at Oakden was allowed to continue – if the monitoring regime picked up areas for improvement in other facilities, how did it fail to detect abuse at Oakden?”

“ACIA has been pleased to see the Federal Government taking action to overhaul quality monitoring structures, given the failure at Oakden.”

ACIA believes in an aged care system that provides high-quality care to all older Australians and a quality monitoring and improvement system that detects and corrects poor practice.

Mr Westenberg noted that recent experience with the Oakden scandal showed that mandating staffing ratios and qualifications offered no guarantee of care quality.

“Oakden had a very high ratio of staff to residents, and very high numbers of formally-qualified staff – yet the care provision was a disgrace. This highlights that it is not numbers of staff, or qualifications, but culture and leadership that drive effective care provision.”

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09/03/18 - Suicides in Aged Care, Study Shines a Light on High Quality of Aged Care

Key Points

  • Suicide rates in aged care are extremely low
  • Data is lack on suicide rates for older people in the community
  • Aged care providers work to support wellbeing for their residents
  • ACIA welcomes the efforts of researchers to generate high-quality data on aged care

The Aged Care Industry Association (ACIA) has welcomed the report in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry on suicide in Australian nursing homes, stressing that the findings of the report must be taken in context.

The Association, which represents aged care providers, said that the report highlighted that rates of suicide in nursing homes are extremely low – an average of 11 deaths from 170,000 residents per year. As noted by the researchers, data is not available to make a comparison with deaths of older people in the community.

CEO Luke Westenberg said, “This research makes it clear that nursing home residents are receiving high-quality care. Aged care providers are managing common risk factors to support the wellbeing of their residents.”

“The identified risk factors are frequently found among nursing home residents – the extremely low rate of death by suicide underlines the quality of care provided by residential aged care facilities.

“We value the work of researchers in generating improved data regarding aged care. This supports our industry’s commitment to continuous improvement, by providing a robust evidence base.”

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02/03/18 - ICAC Report on Oakden Highlights Uniqueness of Service

Key Points

  • Abuse at Oakden was unacceptable
  • Oakden was a mental health facility run by the State Government, not a mainstream residential aged care provider
  • The situation at Oakden bears no resemblance to the care provision and practices in residential aged care
  • Aged care employs 24,000 people in SA; these hard-working, committed people should not be compared to Oakden

The Aged Care Industry Association (ACIA) has welcomed the report of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) into the Oakden scandal.

The Association, which represents aged care providers, said that the report highlighted Oakden was primarily a mental health service run by the State Government.

CEO Luke Westenberg said, “The conditions at Oakden were appalling and unacceptable.”

“The Commissioner was very clear that Oakden was primarily a mental health service – its client group and its operations were very different from residential aged care.”

“The abuse at Oakden bears no resemblance to the high-quality care provided in residential aged care facilities every day.”

“Aged care facilities employ 24,000 people in South Australia – their hard work and dedication to caring for older people should not be tarnished by association with the abuse at Oakden.”

ACIA has offered assistance to the SA Government in developing improved models of care for older people with severe mental health issues.

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21/02/18 - Cameras in Residential Aged Care 

Key Points

  • Residential aged care is a safe environment for older people
  • Elder abuse is mostly perpetrated by family members
  • Surveillance cameras raise complex questions of resident and staff rights
  • Mandatory surveillance cameras in aged care are not a viable solution

The Aged Care Industry Association (ACIA) rejects the implication of a recent article by Vanessa De Largie on 19 February 2018 that elder abuse in aged care is widespread, and that mandatory surveillance cameras are the solution.

The Association, which represents aged care providers, said that elder abuse is unacceptable in every situation. The health and wellbeing of aged care residents is of the utmost priority to our members. But it is important that solutions address the problem, rather than risk making it worse.

CEO Luke Westenberg said, “Aged care facilities are one of the safest environments for an older person. The vast majority of elder abuse is perpetrated by those close to older people – including family members.”

“Aged care facilities are an important part of detecting and responding to elder abuse – they provide a regulated environment in which multiple people have contact with residents. Aged care providers work to create a safe and respectful home for residents,” Mr Westenberg said.

“Introducing mandatory surveillance cameras raises more problems than it solves. Surveillance footage must be viewed – by whom? If it is to be stored, how can that be kept secure? Will older people be recorded in their bathrooms? Abuse may take place in areas out of surveillance coverage. What about the privacy and dignity of residents who cannot provide their consent to a camera due to dementia? What about the privacy and rights of staff who do not consent to being filmed or whose judgment is impaired if they are reluctant to provide care on camera? It is not a respectful, or a viable solution for protecting older people.”

ACIA noted that one of the examples cited in the article relates to abuse in a hospital context – highlighting that elder abuse is not primarily an aged care issue.

“Criticising the good work every day by the thousands of workers in the aged care industry is not an effective way to prevent elder abuse; attention should be focused on addressing social isolation and skilling service providers (including staff) with the ability to detect early-warning signs of abuse.”

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21/02/18 - Government Action of Flu Vaccine Welcomed

The Aged Care Industry Association (ACIA) has welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s decision to provide “enhanced” flu vaccines free to people over 65.

The Association, which represents aged care providers, said vaccination is an important aspect of protecting older people from influenza.

CEO, Luke Westenberg, said, “Aged care providers work hard to keep older people safe, especially in managing the risks of influenza.”

“We encourage people in the community to consider being vaccinated if they will come into contact with older people – including visiting aged care facilities” Mr Westenberg said.

Vaccination of staff is an important aspect of infection control; however, as highlighted by the reduced impact of the vaccine last year, vaccination is only part of the solution.

“Aged care providers have a range of strategies in place to protect residents – vaccination of staff shouldn’t be seen as a magic bullet.”

ACIA will work with regulatory bodies to ensure infection control practices in aged care remain best-practice.

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