A raft of aged care reforms are set to be introduced.
A raft of aged care reforms are set to be introduced. Bev Lacey

Aged care set for a national shake-up

AGED care minister Ken Wyatt has vowed to introduce a raft of recommendations from an independent report into aged care.

The news has drawn a mixed response from aged care advocates, with some welcoming the announcement while others claim the suggested changes don't go far enough.

Suggested changes include setting up a website with ratings out of five for aged care homes based off audit results and consumer reviews.

If the suggested changes are adopted, aged care facilities would stop being notified when inspections are due to be carried out and visits would be conducted over at least two days.

A new Aged Care Commission Board would oversee accreditation, complaints and compliance, replacing the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

National Seniors Australia has welcomed the news as a "huge step forward”.

National Seniors' chief advocate Ian Henschke said changes such as doubling interviews with residents from 10 to 20 per cent during site visits would make a difference.

"National Seniors maintains that all residential aged care consumers or their representatives should be interviewed as part of the aged care assessment process, with the right to opt out,” Mr Henschke said.

"Anything less means critical insights into actual consumer experiences of care will be missed.

"We welcome the recommendation of bringing responsibility for quality, complaints, consumers and clinical advice under the single umbrella of a new Aged Care Commission.”

However, aged care advocate coalition Action on Elder Abuse Now has slammed the Carnell report, saying it has failed to recommend an independent body to oversee aged care inspections.

The government's Australian Aged Care Quality Agency currently carries out checks.

"This is the same agency that in the past, has overseen accrediting facilities such as Oakden and numerous others that have subsequently been found to be sub-standard,” said spokesperson Charli Maree Darragh, whose mother was murdered in an aged care facility in 2014.

"We've now had umpteen reviews into residential aged care in this country and we can now add Kate Carnell's Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes to a long list that has failed to deliver the real shake-up needed.”

Ms Darragh has called on Mr Wyatt to introduce a "two strikes” policy that would see rogue care operators with a poor track record having their licences revoked.



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