Government launches $23m scheme to fight elder abuse

From July next year, aged care providers will have to report a broader range of abuse incidents (Bigstock)

The Morrison Government will set up a $23 million scheme to receive reports of neglect or abuse in aged care, after a study estimated more than 50,000 claims went unreported in the last year. Source: Canberra Times.

By Katie Burgess, Canberra Times.

From July 1 next year, aged care providers will have to report a broader range of incidents, including neglect, psychological or emotional abuse and inappropriate physical or chemical restraint, to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission under a new Serious Incident Response Scheme.

Critically, providers will now have to report resident-on-resident incidents where the perpetrator has a cognitive impairment. Currently, such incidents are exempt from reporting, so long as the alleged offender has a pre-diagnosed cognitive impairment and the provider takes steps to manage their behaviour within 24 hours.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said the scheme would “guarantee transparency and keep our loved ones safe”.

“Any abuse of a care recipient is unacceptable,” Mr Colbeck said.

The scheme comes off the back of a prevalence study undertaken by KPMG which found there were 1259 type one incidents – otherwise known as reportable assaults, which take in unlawful sexual contact and unreasonable use of force – perpetrated by residents with a cognitive impairment in a six-month period.

There were a further 455 type two incidents recorded in the same period – incidents that do not meet the threshold for being considered a reportable assault, including emotional or psychological abuse.

The Australian Law Reform Commission has previously raised concerns that the types of incidents aged care providers had to report to authorities was too narrow, as it did not capture resident-on-resident assaults.

In 2017, it recommended removing the exemption following its landmark investigation of elder abuse in Australia.

Labor’s aged care spokeswoman Julie Collins said it should not have taken three years for the Coalition to act on the recommendations.

“Any abuse of older Australians in aged care is completely unacceptable and it is up to the government to do everything it can to stop it and to do this we need to know what is happening,” Ms Collins said.

FULL STORY

Aged care providers must report resident-on-resident abuse under new scheme (Canberra Times)

RELATED COVERAGE

Federal Government to launch $23 million scheme protecting senior Australians from abuse (SBS News) 

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