Wednesday, 17 March 2010 |
The current limited system of late release and early removal of adverse reports from the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency website is unsatisfactory. Consumers are entitled to disclosure of all past, as well as present, reports. Information needs to be presented in a digestible format. Frail older people are one of the most vulnerable groups in society and their protection should outweigh all other considerations.
In order to achieve this protection, the community must be able to see what the company or provider is capable of when no one is watching - not just when they have been given time to prepare for an inspection and not simply after providing a response to an adverse finding in order to stay in business.
How about a "My Nursing Home" that publishes some useful information for consumers, such as:
- Public disclosure of those applying for approval status in aged care. The community are not encouraged or given the opportunity to object or supply information.
- Initial date of the approval of the aged care provider by the Department of Health and Ageing
- Date and details of last change of ownership
- The name of the approved provider of the service AND the names of directors, or members of the committee of management, of the approved provider; (there is provision for this in the Aged Care Act S.86-9, but is not revealed to consumers)
- Publish the fees and charges connected with the service, including *accommodation bonds and *accommodation charges; (there is provision for this in the Aged Care Act S.86-9, but is not revealed to consumers)
- Whether the home is part of a multi aged-care home ownership (one or more)
- Type of ownership should be clearly stated (eg, private for-profit; non-profit; religious or government entities)
- Does the nursing home support “Resident Support Groups” – run independently by family members
- How providers spend taxpayer's and resident’s money.
Providers are not required to put before public scrutiny and the taxpayer, of their financial affairs – eg, how much is actually spent on residents’ food, staffing, medical care, physiotherapy, dental care, general services and so on. (There is little transparency or accountability when providers seek more and more funding particularly if no-one has any idea whether millions of dollars are being actually spent on residents.)
- Staff/resident ratios for each facility
- The number AND nature of substantiated complaints made about a facility
(How a home responds to an adverse report is a critical part of understanding the practices and policies of that facility)
- The number and nature of substantiated “breaches” an aged care facility receives (where an approved aged care provider has breached the Aged Care Act 1997);
Eg, WHY IS IT still possible for a home to breach their responsibilities as an approved provider, as well as having serious complaints substantiated against the facility, and yet, avoid any public scrutiny whatsoever?
- The nature or number of identified deficiencies including injuries or deaths caused by negligence at a facility;
- The nature or number of substantiated reportable assaults an aged care facility receives (including physical or sexual).