In news overnight, it was announced that Australian Aged Care Quality Agency will be overhauled after failing to detect the countless elder abuse that was happening at South Australia’s Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service.

The Aged Care Minister, Ken Wyatt, says that the health, safety and wellbeing of senior Australians in aged care is non-negotiable.

“What happened inside Oakden was shocking and the Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring the situation is not repeated,” he told HelloCare  

“On releasing the Carnell-Paterson Review, I moved immediately to implement one of the key recommendations, introducing unannounced re-accreditation audits for all aged care homes.”

The decision to close the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and replace it with an independent commision comes based on a recommendation from the Carnell-Patterson report that was released October last year.

Recommendation 1. Establish an independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to centralise accreditation, compliance and complaints handling.

The news revamping the national aged care watchdog comes days after the interim report for Effectiveness of the Aged Care Quality Assessment and accreditation framework for protecting residents from abuse and poor practices, and ensuring proper clinical and medical care standards are maintained and practised was released by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee.

The Senate Inquiry into aged care regulatory processes was conducted after ears of elder abuse and neglect went on at Oakden without any regulatory body or accreditation agency noticing.

“Following the Oakden revelations, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency also commissioned an independent review of its processes, tightening its quality systems as a result.”

The review findings included:

  • Improved compliance monitoring at high-risk and complex aged care facilities
  • Improved pre-planning of audits and audit teams, accounting for a service’s characteristics, history and risks
  • Strengthened capability and provision of clinical and specialist support for aged care quality surveyors

“I am closely and constantly monitoring the quality agency’s work and receives regular reports on its compliance activity,” says the Federal Aged Care Minister

“The Turnbull Government accepts the broad direction of the Carnell-Paterson Review and is considering the remaining recommendations, including establishment of an independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to centralise accreditation, compliance and complaints handling. This would include the functions currently undertaken by the Quality Agency.”

Just last week, Australian Aged Care Quality Agency chief executive, Nick Ryan, was asked about the organisation’s handling of the saga during a Senate inquiry hearing on Monday night.

“Poor care is unacceptable and where there is an incident of poor care and a pervasive culture as there was at Oakden, every single part of the system clearly has the opportunity to learn lessons,” Ryan said.

He wouldn’t accept responsibility for the neglect and abuse, “it’s the provider that is responsible,” he said.

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