Response 591055944

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Introduction

2. Do you give consent for your submission to be published in whole or in part?

Please select one item
(Required)
Ticked Yes
No

Details about you

3. Are you answering on behalf of an organisation?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

4. Where do you live or where is your organisation based?

Please select one item
NSW
Vic
Qld
WA
SA
Tas
Ticked ACT
NT
City/Town
Canberra

More details about you

8. What role best describes you?

Please select one item
Aged care consumer
Ticked Family and/or carer for an aged care consumer
Aged care worker/professional
Aged care advocate
Clinician/geriatrician
Health worker/professional
Other

Questions about accreditation and monitoring compliance of residential aged care services

11. Do you think that processes to accredit and monitor residential aged care services are effective?

Accreditation process
Please select one item
Yes, always Yes, mostly Ticked Yes, sometimes No Don’t know
Monitoring process
Please select one item
Yes, always Yes, mostly Yes, sometimes Ticked No Don’t know

12. Do you think processes to review and investigate non-compliance with the accreditation standards are effective?

Please select one item
Yes, always
Yes, mostly
Ticked Yes, sometimes
No
Don’t know

13. Are you aware that sanctions can be imposed on residential aged care services when they fail to comply with the accreditation standards?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

14. Do you think these sanctions are effective?

Please select one item
Yes, always
Yes, mostly
Yes, sometimes
Ticked No
Don’t know

15. What features of the existing assessment and monitoring process should be retained?

Retain assessment & monitoring processes
Not sure

16. What features of the existing assessment and monitoring process should be changed?

Change assessment & monitoring
Spot checks at all times of the day. Staff are often untrained and unskilled. The shifts that are most difficult to staff are the evening and night shifts. I found at these times if I visited my father I saw the worst behaviour in staff. I do not think the current system accounts for the very real fact that older people who are primary carers for residents in nursing homes are very often afraid to complain fearing detrimental treatment of their loved ones. The complaints system needs to be completely independent and separate from the nursing home, easy to access and the details of this service should be given to the relatives of new residents upon admission..

Questions about complaints

17. Have you made a complaint about a residential aged care service in the last 10 years?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

Never made a complaint

25. Please identify why a complaint has not been made.

Please select all that apply
No reason to make a complaint
Didn't know how to
Too much effort required
Ticked Fear of retribution for making a complaint
Ticked No confidence in the handling of a complaint
You are welcome to provide further details on your response
My father was found to have a severely broken arm after a night shift. This was dealt with very poorly. The ambulance service was finally contacted at the insistence of the family. My father consistently reported that he had been attacked by a staff member. My father had dementia but did not alter his account of the incident at any time. The incident was reported by the ambulance staff and the A & E staff who felt that there was a legitimate possibility of elder abuse. The family contacted the nursing home and had to deal with multiple staff who did not know what to do. When it was insisted that the Manager of the nursing home be contacted this was done with resistance and fear. The registered nurse did not want to do this. I spoke to the Manager and asked for an investigation into my father's injury be commenced. We never heard any more about this. My mother feared that my father would be discriminated against if we pursued the complaint so we did not take it any further. There were numerous smaller issues of concern but the only other issue that we felt was not acceptable and seriously needed addressing was the care of my father in his final weeks. There seems to be no palliative care available to residents of a nursing home. We felt that the administration of pain relief was poorly managed and my fathers last weeks were subsequently very difficult for him. There seemed to be no ability to administer pain relief if a registered nurse was not on duty or available and it seemed most often there was only one registered nurse for the entire facility Redacted text, at night I don't think there were any registered nurses on duty.

26. Do you have any suggestions for how complaints handled by the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner could be better handled?

Note: this question is included for organisations and those individuals who have not made a complaint
As previously mentioned in this submission there is need for an independent, highly visible complaint mechanism. Residents and carers need to be kept informed of the progress of complaints. The contact details for a local advocate/complaint officer needs to be freely available Complaints services need to be local, responsive and highly transparent.

Additional comments

27. Do you have anything else that you would like to contribute to the Review?

Additional comments
My families experience of aged care was at times very difficult. The nursing home my father went to had great staff and good practices overall but it takes only one or two staff members who have dubious practices for nursing homes to become dangerous places for vulnerable older people. Working in nursing homes is not highly sought after work and tends to attract some very unsuitable staff members. Residents are also often placed in areas where there are dangerous residents who can be violent to others. The level of dementia in residents in nursing homes is high and the progress of this disease often means that residents become more and more aggressive. I believe that every problem in nursing homes could be remedied with adequate staffing levels. Staff need to be screened well and encouraged to be in the area for the right reasons. Aged care residents need to have access to external services such as mental health and palliative care. Our most vulnerable Australians should not have to be in fear for their safety. They should be able to live out their final years with dignity and be happy and healthy.