26 September 2023

ALRC findings propped up Commission

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The recent report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has been welcomed by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), which notes that many of the Royal Commission’s recommendations mirrored the findings of an ALRC investigation dating back in 2017.

The ALRC said it made 43 recommendations in its 2017 Elder Abuse – A National Legal Response Report on how Commonwealth legal frameworks could be reformed to better protect older persons from misuse or abuse in a way that safeguarded their autonomy.

“The Report found that older people receiving aged care—whether in their homes or in residential aged care facilities—may experience abuse or neglect,” the ALRC said.

“To address this abuse, the ALRC recommended a range of reforms to the aged care sector,” it said.

The Commission said its recommendations included establishing a serious incident response scheme; regulating the use of restrictive practices in aged care; establishing national guidelines for the community visitors scheme regarding abuse and neglect of care recipients; and improving the suitability of aged care workers by enhancing employment screening processes, and ensuring that unregistered staff are subject to the proposed National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers.

It said its Report also addressed decision making in aged care and recommended that aged care laws be reformed to provide for supported decision-making approaches.

“The Royal Commission endorsed the ALRC’s call for aged care laws and legal frameworks to be amended,” it said.

“Where it is not possible to ascertain the care preferences of an older person, the Royal Commission concurred with the ALRC’s view that, in such circumstances, decision making must, ‘give effect to what the person would likely want, based on all the information available, including by consulting with family members, carers and other significant people in their life’,” the ALRC said.

Further information on the recommendations made by the ALRC relating to aged care can be found in its 428-page Elder Abuse Report at this PS News link.

The Royal Commission’s 5-volume report can be access at this link.

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