It is more than a year since the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety published its eight volume report, yet the crisis in Australia’s aged care homes is greater now than at any time in the sector’s history.
In the first two months of this year some 700 residents in these homes have died after contracting COVID-19.
The Ideas & Society program will offer an outstanding panel with a variety of perspectives — to discuss what is now happening inside Australia’s aged care homes, what are the reasons for the crisis, and what are the possible ways forward.
Convenor of the Ideas & Society program, Professor Robert Manne, says some of the questions concerning this humanitarian crisis include:
- What were the most important recommendations of the royal commission?
- Why did one of our panellists, Professor Joseph Ibrahim, describe the Federal Government’s response to the Royal Commission, thus far, as one of “abject failure”?
- What is Labor likely to promise?
- Will this budget substantially strengthen the performance of Australia’s aged care homes?
- Why has there been such a fearful death toll during the Omicron wave of the pandemic?
- How far can the death toll be explained by long term structural weaknesses in the system?
- How far by the decision of the Howard Government to throw the sector open as greatly as possible to the free market?
- How far by the indifference of public opinion, except perhaps for those who are concerned about what they can see is happening to members of their family? And how far by an underlying, invisible bias, “age-ism”?
- How far has the current crisis been caused by the shortage of staff, both nurses and carers, who have been furloughed because of the Omicron wave of the pandemic?
- Why are carers paid $23 per hour, less than those working in unskilled retail jobs?
- Why, and with what effect, did the Federal Government call in the army?
- And most importantly of all, what now needs to be done—in both the short and long-term—to improve the performance of the aged care home sector?
Event online: The Human Crisis in Australia’s Aged Care Homes
When: Tuesday, April 5, 5pm-6.30pm
The panel will be hosted by Professor Yvonne Wells, head of the Lincoln Centre for Research on Ageing at La Trobe University and includes discussion with:
Emeritus Professor Robert Manne, Ideas & Society program convenor
Linda Mellors, managing director and CEO, Regis Aged Care Pty Ltd
Dr Sarah Russell, director Aged Care Matters
Professor Joe Ibrahim, head of Health Law and Ageing Research Unit at Monash University
Melissa Davey, chief medical reporter at The Guardian
Professor Sarah Holland-Batt, poet, advocate for aged care matters