It was no coincidence that the stocks of ASX-listed aged care companies fell sharply as the highly anticipated royal commission into the aged care sector began in Adelaide last week.
Investors know this inquiry into the opaque world of aged care means business - and will result in necessary, and probably costly, reform.
In their opening addresses, Commissioners Richard Tracey and Lynelle Briggs didn’t mince their words, either. Having received more than 300 submissions on the back of horror media reports of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, over-medication and physically restraining residents, it was no surprise to hear Commissioner Briggs describe the “rising torrent” of concern about safety and quality of care, and that the system was not world class but was “faltering … and may not be fit for purpose”.
Commissioner Tracey said the inquiry was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for the nation to create a better system of care for elderly Australians.
“Frail and elderly members of our community deserve to, and should, be looked after in the best possible way and we intend to do our best to see that happens,” he said.
Hearings resume in February and will be held around the nation. The focus is on Commonwealth-funded care for people in aged care facilities, in-home care services and care for young Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care. An interim report in due by the end of next October, and a final report by the end of April 2020.
National Seniors is pleased the views of people receiving care and their families are central to the inquiry. National Seniors CEO Professor John McCallum says this acknowledgement supports the National Seniors call for greater community respect for older Australians. It comes on the back of research findings that respect for older people is declining despite their age, lived experience and contribution to society.
This royal commission is a valuable opportunity to create a better aged care system. You can participate by keeping informed through our special webpage here.
You’ll find easy-to-navigate news and commentary about the royal commission, live streaming of hearings, and you can post your own personal aged care experiences, which will help inform our submission to the commission.
If your experience warrants examination by the commission, then we encourage you to lodge a submission. A guide about how to do this is on the website here.
Please keep visiting us and if you like what you see, tell your friends and families about it. The more people who are kept informed about this vital issue to all Australians, the more opportunity there is to ensure the system is reformed to benefit the whole community.