Tuesday, August 16, 2022

OPAN says reforms mark a ‘watershed moment’ for older Australians

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) says aged care reform legislation introduced to Parliament today represents a “watershed moment” for older Australians and their families.

OPAN’s Manager of Policy and Systemic Advocacy, Samantha Edmonds said the legislation will work to ensure the right level of care for older people.

“Many older people have increasingly complex health issues and comorbidities when they enter residential care,” Ms Edmonds said.

“Having the right level of clinical skill to provide support 24 hours a day is essential. We know health-related incidents don’t always occur during the day.”

OPAN also welcomed the government’s other reform measures, such as the cap on management and administrative fees and the block on exit fees for people who access home care.

Ms Edmonds said older people often raise concerns about these costs with OPAN, especially in regard to the disparity in fees across providers.

“OPAN also welcomes the introduction of the new residential aged care funding model.”

“A funding model that supports a consumer-directed approach within the residential setting is a much-needed improvement.

“We encourage the Government to consider expanding the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) model to encompass social and leisure activities, which are crucial to older people’s health and well-being.”

OPAN’s Manager of Policy and Systemic Advocacy, Samantha Edmonds.

The new legislation also extends the Serious Incident Reporting Scheme into home care and supports the development of an enforceable code of conduct for all aged care staff.

“OPAN welcomes the application of the code to governing persons, who set the culture of an organisation and therefore should be held to the same, if not higher, level of accountability.”

“To be relevant, the code must be linked to the Charter of Aged Care Rights and the Aged Care Quality Standards.

“We also support the additional powers given to the commissioner in relation to failure to comply with the code, responding to alleged breaches of the code and enforcing compliance with the code.

“The reform of our aged care system is a complex challenge. We must now come together to implement these changes in consultation with older people. OPAN looks forward to working with the Government and other stakeholders to improve the lives of older people,” Ms Edmonds said.

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