Preventing assaults in aged care and ensuring residents have access to the same services and support

Release date: 28 Nov 2019

The peak body for not-for-profit providers, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) wants more done on the prevention and supports for aged care residents who are victims of assault.

"Elder abuse is too widespread, it happens in every social, economic and cultural setting. At the very core of elder abuse is the loss of dignity and basic human rights and it is a scourge on society," said Patricia Sparrow, CEO of ACSA.

Pat Sparrow said, "The increase in reportable assaults is likely to be a result of improved reporting and overall having this better reporting is a good thing. Assaults are never OK, whomever the victim.

"ACSA supports the transfer of reporting of assaults to the Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission and the work currently underway to develop a new Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS).

"By its very nature this work is focussed on reporting. Equally, or perhaps even more importantly, is that we look at what needs to be done to prevent such assaults and providing support to victims when they unfortunately occur.

"As part of this, aged care residents should have access to the same services and support as any victim. In this way we can ensure that an older person living in a residential care facility is not discriminated against," said Ms Sparrow.

ACSA supports providers in doing all they can to prevent and reduce the occurrence of assault and elder abuse.

"There are many things providers can, and are, doing to bring down the number of assaults in aged care. These range from strong checking of suitability for individuals to work in aged care, creating a culture that encourages reporting of concerns whether that be of a worker or a family member, and providing ongoing training and education to all staff.

"Six months ago ACSA, in partnership with OPAN and Russell Kennedy, produced a free elder abuse pocket brochure for all providers and workers in aged care so that they know what to look for whether they are supporting people in home or residential care and what to do if they suspect or witness abuse in any form.

"All you have to do is contact ACSA and brochures will be mailed to you," concluded Ms Sparrow.

As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia


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