Whichever party or parties form government after this election, fixing our aged care system is top of the list of things that need urgent action. The health and safety of vulnerable older Australians depend on it, as do those of us who will access aged care in future years.
Growing dissatisfaction with the system is clear as many of us have come into direct contact with it through personal experience and through family and loved ones who are accessing care.
Aged care comprises in-home care and residential or facility care. National Seniors is demanding both be fixed and have told all parties and candidates to support swift action or lose votes.
Our policies offer practical ways to improve aged care now and minimise further calamity as more older people attempt to access an already stressed system.
More home care packages
Heading our list of ‘must dos’ is tripling the number of level 3 and 4 Home Care Packages to cater for the clear preference of Australians to age in their homes.
Did you know that package waiting lists are so long people are dying waiting for them, suffering health deterioration and being forced into residential care? Boosting packages will help eliminate the queue and improve the quality of life for people waiting for care.
Staffing aged care homes
National Seniors is also calling for the mandatory publication of residential staff-to-resident ratios to improve and make transparent the quality of care in these services.
Age care providers must be required to regularly publish the information as part of day-to-day workforce planning, and that information should be available on the My Aged Care website to better inform consumers about choosing a home for their loved ones.
It is difficult to believe but aged care staff don’t need any qualifications or training to care for people with dementia! That is why we are calling for mandatory training.
National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke summed up the situation when he said “Many of our members are concerned about the skills and qualifications of staff. This policy, which is backed by other respected organisations including Dementia Australia, would enhance the quality of care.
“Trained staff can better manage dementia symptoms, help ease conflict in care settings and assist in the reduction of physical and chemical restraints, which are overused,” Ian concluded.
The full Federal Election 2019 Policy priorities for older Australians is available here.