ACIA Press Release: Aged Care and Disability Crisis in Australia
Both the Aged Care Act and the NDIS Act have failed the most vulnerable people in our community. This crisis has been validated by more than 20 reports and a Royal Commission across the last two decades, yet barely anything has been done to address these fundamental issues. There has been no budget to address the issue, no satisfactory responses to the problems at hand, and no leadership in advocating and supporting our aged, frail and those with disabilities.
Every aged and person with a disability has the right to live well, with dignity and independence, engage as part of their community and live in a safe place of their choosing, with a choice of appropriate and affordable support and care services as and when they need them. This must be reflected in changes in the legislation, funding and processes that ensure that the rights enshrined in legislation are achieved in practice.
Australian Community Industry Alliance, as the peak body in quality management for some of the frailest and vulnerable in our community, seeks to hear how this will be addressed.
ACIAs position to be considered as a part of this crisis before we see more tragedy:
- The individual needs and goals of these citizens have not been considered nor protected:
- 40% of NDIS participants have had their funds cut despite health professionals and expert advice that supports the needs of the participants to meet their goals;
- Aged care has not reported adequate funding to meet the basic care needs of the elderly, let alone the specialised needs for their acute and complex needs;
- Aged care cannot respect the wishes of those they care for to remain at home as aligned to their wishes; as there are inadequate supports to address their care;
- 1:3 report there is insufficient funding to meet clients’ needs.
- The workforce issues are significant and unprecedented.
- Reports that 30-40% of shifts are not able to be filled by competent staff;
- 1:2 worker NDIS screening checks are taking longer than 6 weeks;
- 1:2 say lack of workforce is the single biggest issue affecting the sector;
- 1:3 state that the workforce lack the skill and capability to work effectively in the sector;
- There is insufficient funding for suitable training and supervision of staff;
- There is essentially an inability of Registered Nurses to operate under their full scope of delegation and accountability in these sectors due to the funding restrictions;
- There is insufficient funding for health professionals to support the needs of the vulnerable and aged in our community, both in aged care and disability.
- Approved Providers are not adequately assessed and supported to comply:
- 1:2 persons attending NDIS participant carers are not assessed as from Approved Providers therefore they haven’t got adequate training, supervision, nor compliance requirements for mandatory reporting (despite the code of conduct)
- Aged Care Commission does not employ auditors that are trained to the standards of national auditing requirements, nor do they sample or triangulate evidence, therefore, their reporting is ill-informed, and auditors lack qualifications to ensure validation of assessment outcomes.
- Complaints based systems ask for band-aid solutions in an effort to close out quickly rather than support a root cause approach of systematic improvements.
- There is not adequate safeguarding of our vulnerable:
- There needs to be a national register to validate the competency, conduct and capability of the workforce across aged care, veterans and disability;
- There needs to be mandatory reporting requirements for all workers in these areas. This goes further than the code of conduct and requires national registration of all Providers and workers (self-managed or otherwise);
- The upcoming SCHADs award changes will further restrict independence and choice for clients due to the restrictions proposed and increased chargers that will need to be passed on;
- 9:10 say that we are not adequately supporting the needs of people with disabilities;
- There needs to be appropriate advocacy and case management to support the growing domestic violence and restrictive practices that occur behind closed doors.
- A single risk-based, human-rights-based accreditation process has not been utilised;
- Standards in both systems are outdated and not reflective of evidenced-based best practices;
- Disparate systems increase administrative burdens and unrealistic system requirements;
- Australian Community Industry Standard has been in place and effective for almost 2 decades across aged care, disability, community care and insurance providers. It is a single credentialing tool with core modules that proportionally consider clients’ needs and their environment. It is the first in this sector to include further; mental health and assistive technology in its development for clients’ needs.
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