Political action group Aged Care Reform Now (ACRN) is ramping up its pre-election campaign, and if politicians think that spin will suffice during this election cycle, they are greatly underestimating the group’s fight for real accountability.
The group has just launched its ‘13 Questions – Where do you stand on aged care?’ campaign, asking all Australians to take a minute to ensure aged care reform is a major election issue.
A list of 13 questions will be circulated to politicians across the country, requiring ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, which will assess where politicians stand on aged care sector reforms.
The questions cover issues relating to both home care and residential care, and have been determined by ACRN membership as the most important issues characterising the aged care crisis: quality of care; a well-trained and remunerated workforce; and transparency and accountability.
Perth committee members Amina Schipp and Yvonne Buters are bound by parallel experiences of tragedy, with both of Buters’ parents and Schipp’s mother passing away after neglect and abuse at two different Regis aged care facilities.
Buters tells Aged Care News that holding politicians to account this election cycle is necessary, so that years’ worth of promises are finally implemented.
“[Last Monday], it was five years since my father passed away in aged care and nothing has improved… So we want politicians to know that people are still caring about aged care, and that people are aware that there are still lots of changes that need to be made.”
Schipp says that this campaign is about ensuring politicians are finally held to account.
“We created this survey because no one should have the excuse that they don’t know about the issues in aged care,” she says.
“We need to keep the pressure on politicians on all sides, to clearly understand that Australians demand aged care reform that results in a quality, safe and efficient aged care system now and for generations to come.
“There has been significant focus recently on the fallout from the aged care royal commission and the devastating impacts COVID has had on the elderly. But there are also major reforms underway and Australians have the chance to influence these changes.
“We also want our elected officials to be transparent on their views about aged care, so that voters can make a clear choice on election day,” she says.
The 13 questions campaign is a simple online survey, available via this link.
Australians are also being asked to email their local politicians and candidates to ask them to complete the survey.
ACRN will publish those elected member and candidate responses on its website so voters can see, at a glance, where their local candidates stand on important aged care issues.
The 13 questions, grouped under three key themes, are as follows:
Q: Do you support…?
- Home care that prioritises each individual’s need for support?
- A minimum amount of care per day to be provided in residential care, based on individual care needs?
- Sufficiently funded and accessible Allied Health Services for older people who receive aged care services, both in the home and in residential care.
- Capping of administration fees for home care providers so more funds are available for direct support? (they are currently between 8% and 35%).
- The provision of a variety of fresh, nutritious, appetising and appropriate meals in line with the meal choices of aged care residents?
- Keeping the existing Aged Care Assessment process, the existing Regional Assessment Service (RAS) and Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT/ACAS) in public hands?
- Registration of all aged care workers in both residential and in home care settings?
- A national minimum standard of training for all care staff in both residential and home care. This would specify training modules in personal care, dementia, palliative care, wound care, cultural, diversity, infection control, communication, and ongoing refresher training.
- At least one Registered Nurse (RN) on duty at all times in an aged care facility?
Transparency and Accountability
- Financial transparency of how taxpayer funds are being used in both residential and home care?
- Public reporting of complaints including how they are managed and resolved, and public disclosure on whether the provider is meeting or failing quality standards?
- New Aged Care legislation that prioritises the human rights of older people and mandates quality?
- The mandatory reporting of serious incidents within a timely manner in both residential and home care?
More about ACRN
Aged Care Reform Now (ACRN) is a grassroots group dedicated to improving aged care services in Australia.
Consisting of people with lived experience of the aged care sector – older Australians who are aged care services recipients, families and friends, and current and retired aged-care workers – its members advocate for a new aged care system that focuses on transparency, accountability and effective regulation to ensure the human rights of older people are upheld.
ACRN is a platform for people interacting with the aged care system and provides a strong voice in the delivery of quality services, complaints management and practical solutions to advance the care and wellbeing of aged care recipients, now and in the future.