COTA Welcomes Review Of Aged Care Quality Regulation System

Leading peak seniors’ advocacy organisation COTA Australia today welcomed the review into how care quality in nursing homes is regulated, following recent major failures in one home in South Australia.

The Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt announced the review of the Commonwealth Government’s residential aged care regulatory regime in response to the recent SA government review that uncovered systemic and longstanding failures of care in its Oakden facility.

COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates commended the Minister for taking this decisive and necessary action.

“Over the last two decades Australia has had one of the strongest aged care regulatory regimes in the world, which has without question resulted in major improvements in the quality of residential care,” Mr Yates said.

“However, COTA has long been concerned that despite the formal accreditation and complaint processes mandated by successive governments, some poor behavior has continued to ‘fly below the radar’, hidden from the accreditation processes; and with many of those residents and families who are affected not confident enough to complain.

The SA Government’s commissioned review of Oakden found that: “The Review heard and saw evidence that Oakden became better at knowing how to produce documents and records that Accrediting Bodies and Surveyors wanted to and expected to see; and better at ensuring staff knew what to say.

However, it became no better at providing safe or better quality care.”

“This is a frequent observation from residents and families of residents in some nursing homes – that an Accreditation Review happens and the nursing home passes but the issues they were concerned about continue,” Mr Yates said.

“This review commissioned by Minister Wyatt is an opportunity to not just evaluate current practice but to also consider systemic solutions to systemic problems.

“As one example, residents and their families should have the right to move their bed licence to another nursing home at any time, without any barriers. This has been in place since February this year for Home Care Package holders and is already having a positive impact on increasing competition and quality.

“This move has been recommended by the Government’s own Aged Care Sector Committee as a key plank of the Committee’s Aged Care Reform Roadmap. It needs to be implemented promptly.

“COTA Australia looks forward to working with the Minister’s review to achieve even higher standards of care and accountability through greater transparency of provider behavior, better support services to residents and families, and greater consumer choice and control.

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.