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NFP peak body responds to aged-care services abuse

Aged and Community Services SA & NT (ACS), the peak body for South Australia’s not-for-profit aged services sector, has called for a considered approach in responding to the recent elder abuse reported in the Mitcham Residential Care Facility.

ACS has said the criminal actions of the staff member who conducted the abuse at the aged-care facility are indefensible and the peak body has condemned these actions.

An Adelaide woman used a hidden camera to capture the abuse of her 89-year-old father at the hands of a nursing home carer. Noleen Hausler became suspicious about her father’s bruises and used the camera to capture the actions of his carer in 2015. Hausler told the ABC’s 7.30 Report that she later took the video to police.

The video appears to show the carer violently force-feeding Clarence Hausler, sneezing on him, pinning his arms down, flicking his nose and holding a large napkin over his face.

However, ACS has said complaints about residential aged care have shown a drop of 5 per cent in the first three months of 2016, compared to 2015.

“ACS members have invested heavily in their recruitment and screening practices, and continue to develop their workforce and to ensure staff are professional, dedicated and passionate about the quality of the care they provide to 14,000 South Australians in residential facilities every day,” said ACS CEO Melissa Centofanti.

“South Australia is considered the national leader in service provision, innovation and quality. The standard of our members’ residential facilities is consistently high. The safety and quality of life of residents is the number one priority for aged services providers and any allegations of abuse and neglect are taken very seriously,” she said.

ACS said they support an appropriate response to this elder abuse incident. The peak body has urged governments and MPs to work with the industry to determine effective responses.

1 comment | click to view comment

Comment Manually to Susan Johnson Cancel reply


    Susan Johnson

    August 2, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Safety for seniors: A Non-negotiable right.

    Thank you Aged and Community Services SA & NT (ACS), for calling for a considered approach to responding to elder abuse as a result of the reported incident in the Mitcham Residential Care Facility.

    Having worked in abuse prevention for over thirty years it continues to horrify me that the rights of some of our most vulnerable people continue to be negated and abused. Elder abuse insidiously takes place in private, behind closed doors and is frequently perpetrated by someone in a relationship, role or position that implies trust.

    Situations of elder abuse are under-reported for a wide variety of reasons. The victim may be too frail or impaired to speak out about the abuse, may be socially isolated, be financially dependent on their abuser, feel ashamed that they are being abused or indeed may fear retribution at the hands of the abuser if they speak to someone about it.

    As such many victims of elder abuse are imprisoned in a cocoon of silence at the mercy of people who all too often call themselves ‘carers’. It is way past time for Australia to take a consolidated, considered and effective approach to elder abuse prevention. In the later years of their lives surely older people have the right to live safely at home and in their community and live with dignity and respect irrelevant of their age, ability or socio economic status.

    Susan Johnson M (Counselling)
    Associate Consultant: Consultivation.

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