This is the speech that Dr. Simon Perrin presented to the Royal Commission's Community Forum in Bendigo, Victoria, on Wednesday the 5th of March. Dr. Simon Perrin has also made a detailed submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
I would like to extend thanks on behalf of the Bendigo community to allow us the the opportunity to contribute to the Commission.
My presentation Will be in three sections
- First - tabling of a document which I believe supports recent calls for minimum staff resident ratios in Aged Care Facilities.
- Secondly - tabling of a document written in 1988 bye my father Neville Bruce Perrin who had been the CEO of the Anne Caudle Centre, here in Bendigo. At that time the ACC was the largest Residential Nursing Home facility in Victoria, possibly Australia with 400 beds. Mr. Perrin received an Order of Australia Medal for services to Geriatric Care.
- Thirdly - I would like to briefly present our family's interaction with Aged Care Services.
The first report I would like to table is called the "Hardy Report" published in 1985. It is the only detailed Audit performed an Australia documenting the personal and nursing input required per patient per day by Enrolled Nurses and Registered Nurses.
6,000 patients days where audited over 2 years. Many of the Institutions audited also had extensive input from Allied health professionals and even on-site geriatric physicians.
I believe it would be safe to assume these figures would be a minimum input figure.
Because of increasing frailty and complex nursing issues of today's patients - such as obesity and medical debility at time of admission, I believe this report would support a minimum Staff to Patient/Resident ratio of 3.5 hours per patient per day.
I have included with the study a press release to give context and a one page cheat sheet of Hardy's findings as well as a seven page selection of poignant pages.
The second report I would like to table is entitled:
"Report to the Board of of Management of the Anne Caudle Centre": This document was prepared by my father in 1988 (30 years ago). In this document he anticipates the current problems in Aged Residential Care. I will quote to you from page 22 of that document:-
... "The Commonwealth Government has been engaged in an exercise in economics and their Officers were appointed to develop a scheme whereby future funding commitments would be reduced in real terms"... "with the increase in age care population over the next 25 years. " ...
He outlined the genesis of the current problems in aged care. I submit this for your interest and perhaps to assist the Commissioner's understanding of the current situation.
Finally, I would like to read today our family's interaction with the aged care system which occurred nine months ago prior to my fathers death.
10 months ago my father suffered a massive heart attack which left him unable to walk 15 metres. That degree of debilitation qualified him for nursing home placement.
As a family we felt we could manage in his own home with alternate day shower and dressing assistance and meals on wheels. Fortunately, we had already registered with My Aged Care several months earlier. His allocated (funded) hospital time was approaching and urgent placement was imperative.
I rang My Aged Care requesting an urgent assessment and spoke to "Fiona". Fiona said I should be contacted by the Local Assessor. However "they don't go into hospitals" and, "by the way, there is a six month waiting list to receive any Home Care Package assistance".
With pressure from the hospital, we were forced to accept nursing home placement pending arrangements for care at home. With this my father became despondent choosing palliation over stabilisation for his condition. He died two days prior to that nursing home admission. It was easier to obtain a Nursing Home bed than obtaining assistance at home.
I believe this reflects the broken system that is Aged Care in Australia. Thank - you for your time.