The aged care royal commission comes amid a "rising torrent" of concern over safety and quality but is a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to forge a better path, the inquiry’s opening hearing has been told. Source: SBS/AAP
Opening a near year-long investigation of the industry in Adelaide on Friday, one of the two commissioners, Lynelle Briggs, said the nation's aged care system should be world class - one simple to understand, easily navigated and accessible to all.
"But, there has been a rising torrent of concern that the aged care system is faltering in certain areas of safety and quality and that it may not be fit for purpose," she said.
"We need to ensure that all Australians have confidence the system will deliver for them and for their families."
Fellow commissioner Richard Tracey said the inquiry was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come together as a nation and create a better system of care for elderly Australians.
"The hallmark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable people and our elderly are often amongst our most physically, emotionally and financially vulnerable," he said.
"Frail and elderly members of our community deserve to, and should, be looked after in the best possible way and we intend to do our best to see that happens."
The royal commission, which will be based in Adelaide but hold hearings in other states, will examine the extent of sub-standard care and consider how services can be improved.
It was sparked in part by the revelations of abuse and poor treatment of dementia patients at Adelaide's state government-run Oakden nursing home.
In his opening address counsel assisting the inquiry, Peter Gray QC revealed that the commission had already taken more than 300 public submissions with 80 per cent related to the provision of care in residential facilities.
Royal Commission into Aged Care begins, reports of neglect, abuse, and drugs pour in (The Catholic Leader)