Ted O’Brien has handed in his submission to the Aged Care Royal Commission after compiling input from hundreds of Sunshine Coast residents.
The Member for Fairfax used his annual Seniors’ Forum, attended by more than 120 people, to publicly release his 20-page report to the Commissioner.
Mr O’Brien said the Federal Government was proud of its legacy supporting older Australians but acknowledged there was room for improvement.
“My Fairfax submission to the Commissioner is primarily based on feedback from annual Seniors Forums and more recently from the specific Aged Care Forums I hosted for service providers, workers and families on behalf of their loved ones,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It was quite apparent that older Sunshine Coast residents and their families are worried about the availability and quality of aged care places and information services.
“Their stories were upsetting and highlighted problems with the Aged Care system and also the fears of senior citizens about getting older and how they will be cared for in facilities.”
Mr O’Brien said his submission encompassed four key areas:
- Availability of service packages: There are long waiting lists for home care packages, people fear being placed in residential facilities and delay seeking help, and there is poor transitioning from home to aged care.
- Communication: The MyAgedCare website and phone line is too confusing and technical, especially for people without computer skills.
- Models of Care and Sustainability: The aged care system should meet people’s needs. Seniors should not be placed in inappropriate levels of care and facilities eg. non-dementia patients should not be in the dementia ward.
- Staffing: This includes staff-to-patient ratios, staff qualifications and suitability for the job.
Mr O’Brien said the problems raised were systemic but, on a personal note, he said Australia also needed to undergo a “cultural shift” in the way we treat our elderly.
“There is no rational explanation for why we might treat our elderly citizens with less reverence, care and attention than we bestow on helpless newborns,” he said.
Mr O’Brien said the Government was making record investments in aged care while the Commission undertook its work, including increasing the number of residential aged care places on the Sunshine Coast.
To download a copy of the submission, pls click the picture below and choose ‘Download Transcript‘