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Aged care advocates respond to royal commission

Following the Prime Minister’s decision to hold a royal commission, leading NFP aged care services have announced their support

Leading aged care advocates have commended the Prime Minister’s decision to hold a royal commission but are calling for an assessment into abuse and neglect cases.

Chairman of the Global Ageing Network, Marcus Riley, said a royal commission should broaden its scope to examine the economic and legal impacts of residents. Advocacy groups have also called for a broader examination of aged care health funds.

“We can’t just look at residential aged care in isolation – there are a lot of touch points for any person at that stage of their life,” Riley told The Catholic Leader.

The commission has been welcomed by the Whiddon Group, with its CEO praising the decision to look into the future of the sector and examine its downfalls.

“We welcome any move to help improve outcomes for care recipients and employees alike, while also identifying strategies to build a more viable aged care sector,” he told the Western Advocate, adding senior citizens deserved a quality aged care system.

This support comes as the future of aged care is called into question as shares from three of the biggest facilities reportedly fell more than 50 per cent. This coincides with rising staffing costs and people requiring higher levels of care.

Cam Ansell from specialist aged care advisory firm, Ansell Strategic, told the Financial Review: “The sector over the past few years has been caught in a perfect storm.”

Estia, Japara and Regis have been affected. There is currently uncertainty over who will fund the need for another 83,000 aged care places over the next decade. As it stands, about 70 per cent of aged care residents currently comes from government grants.

National Seniors Australia (NSA) Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke, believes that the royal commission should address the challenges of supporting the increasing number of people suffering from dementia and the mounting costs of facilities.

“I think it’s going to delve deep into some of the issues around finances, particularly where the money is going at the moment, because we are spending as a nation almost $20 billion a year on aged care.”

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