Aged care claims 'unsubstantiated'

Australia’s dedicated aged care workers and providers remain committed to providing the highest standard of care and services to our frail elderly, despite rising costs and shrinking revenue.

One of Australia’s largest aged care industry associations, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), yesterday called on Channel Seven’s current affairs program Today Tonight to stop “scaremongering”.

Today Tonight alleged in its Friday night program that a three month long investigation into Australia’s aged care industry uncovered “disturbing evidence” of the conditions elderly residents are being kept in.

It claimed many nursing home residents were found to be “malnourished, and some even abused.”

LASA had stated there was no substance to Today Tonight’s claims of an “epidemic of negligence”.

National chief executive of Leading Age Services Australia, Gerard Mansour, said the claims made on the program had been in many cases “unsubstantiated and often unclear”.

Mr Mansour explained, where homes had been sanctioned by aged care authorities, this was proof the system was working to ensure the highest possible standards of quality in aged care, he said.

“Our aged care industry provides accommodation for nearly 200,000 frail older Australians every night, and we operate in one of the most challenging and highly regulated industries in Australia,” Mr Mansour explained.

“We are dealing with some of the frailest and vulnerable people in Australia, so there are bound to be some isolated issues from time-to-time,” he added.

However, according to Mr Mansour, recent data showed more than 95% of all 2,800 homes Australia-wide were “fully compliant” with the 44 accreditation outcomes.

“This is an outstanding achievement for any industry and demonstrates that the community can have confidence in this system,” he said.

Mr Mansour challenged Today Tonight to stop “scaremongering and to examine the very real challenges confronting aged care providers” – including the federal government’s recent decision to take hundreds of millions of dollars of care subsidy funding away from residential aged care providers.

“I will back the professionalism of our providers and their staff any day. They have a track record of meeting the needs of residents and their families and providing the best possible quality of life for the many frail older Australians in their care.

“If they were genuinely committed to better outcomes, Channel Seven would have presented a balanced report which featured the viability pressures facing the industry as we move into a decade of unprecedented change given the massively ageing population.”

Watch Today Tonight’s investigation into Australia’s aged care industry. Share your thoughts on the program by commenting below.