This blog is Right at Home Australia's response to the two-part investigation by Four Corners titled Who Cares?. If you haven't had time to watch the exceptional reporting by Anne Connolly and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), both Part One and Part Two are now accessible via iView or transcript.
A Royal Commission into the Aged Care Industry was announced by the prime minister on Sunday, September 16, 2018, the day before Who Cares? went to air. The investigation by Four Corners lasted five months. Four-thousand people from inside and outside the Residential Care sector contacted the ABC to share stories of negligence, mistreatment, abuse, and allegations of untimely death. Viewers glimpsed for the first time the current state of the Residential Aged Care Industry, following the horrific findings of the ABC team. A Royal Commission appears to be the only viable mechanism to investigate and recommend reforms in an industry grappling with its own extreme failure across the country. The real tragedy is that the excesses in the industry have been well-known to insiders for over a decade. This Royal Commission, like the Royal Commission into Child Abuse is way overdue.
Right at Home Australia has the ability and privilege to offer Home Care services supporting our clients to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Our mission: "to improve the quality of life for those we serve", is a holistic approach to quality care focusing on individual needs.
Whether Home Care or Residential Aged Care, the goals of both models should be based on a sound set of values to achieve the right outcome. These values include empathy, compassion, respect, integrity and responsibility. They require an attitude for doing, the right thing, going the extra mile, in a nutshell, caring. The gut-wrenching footage from Who Cares? shows these values are not upheld.
Residential Care facilities are generally well established in the community, having historically operated from a position of financial security, supported by vast sums of government funding. The majority of providers are not-for-profit businesses, mostly Church-based. The Four Corners report show how badly these not-for-profits have performed. The fact that so many are Church-based is shocking in the extreme.
Right at Home Australia can legally offer services to residents in nursing homes. As Part One of the investigation mentions: staffing hours are cut, while their work-loads increase. Prioritising critical situations over psychological ones, means they are unable to deliver any sort of social or emotional support or care. So much can be achieved in an hour of one-on-one time, yet the residential facilities have steadfastly blocked attempts by families to employ Home Care companies to deliver care on their premises.
A key issue, if not the difference, between Residential Care and Home Care, is the approach adopted, and the outcomes to be achieved. Home Care adopts a strict diligence and aims for the slighter outcomes of the day, where Residential Care adopts utility. These facilities are able to maximise success by accepting the percentage of losses that come with the large wins each quarter. These different approaches, place different significance or value on the quality of the care delivered. Even in cases where the values for care delivery have been adhered to, the outcome for the individual will always vary.The official standards need to reflect a quality and to arbitrate it.
A Royal Commission is only an investigative process, which recommends reforms. Whether there be legislation or independent bodies to respond to and support the industry, no amount of reform will help if the fundamental attitude of providers is incorrect. We understand that attitudes need to change. To call out poor behaviour, the standard of behaviour needs to be well understood. For Right at Home, it comes down to common human decency and respect. It will fall on providers of care to fulfil well-meaning standards of care, but they also need to keep their promises to their residents and the public. It is their duty to protect the wellbeing and happiness of our most vulnerable in our society. It is all about attitude.
Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently and age in their home. Right at Home Australia is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones, and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no case management or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget.
To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 362 609 or visit our website.