Following the announcement that there would be a royal commission into the aged care sector, reports of abuse and neglect have been highly publicised as Aussies expressed their concerns, but a new report has claimed that an overwhelming majority of aged care residents actually feel safe and well cared for.
The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency published its Consumer Experience Report on Thursday which compiled the answers from more than 15,000 interviews with residents across more than 1,100 residential homes over a 12-month period since July 2017.
Contrary to other recent studies, the report revealed that 97.78 per cent of those surveyed said they were treated with respect “always” or “most of the time” by staff at the home, with less than one per cent revealing they were “never” treated in a respectful manner.
Another significant statistic is that 98.31 per cent of aged care residents feel safe “most of the time” or “always”, with just 1.69 per cent answering to the contrary. Meanwhile, just under 70 per cent agreed that staff met all of their required healthcare needs.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt told Starts at 60: “This reporting aims to give an accurate picture of actual resident experiences and opinions, particularly with the randomised nature of most interviews.
“The Royal Commission is a totally independent inquiry but I expect that this new reporting regime is likely to be considered in the Commissioner’s wide-ranging examination of aged care quality and safety.”
While the results were mostly positive, the report also highlighted some areas for improvement as 16 per cent of respondents answered “some of the time” or “never” to the question: “Would you say that you like the food here?”
Furthermore, almost 16 per cent gave a neutral response to the the statement: “If I feel sad or worried there is someone here that I can talk to.” While 3.25 per cent of residents said they disagreed with that statement.
Quality Agency CEO Nick Ryan said: “We will be closely monitoring these trends and working with researchers and consumers to undertake further analysis of the feedback, to understand what is behind some of the differences in performance between homes.”
Last week another independent report, titled Inside Aged Care, was published by insights agency Faster Horses and claimed that just 18 per cent of Australians have trust in the industry compared to 13 per cent who think the sector is open and transparent.
On top of this, of the 1,701 people surveyed from across the country, only one-third agreed that aged care organisations show empathy, offer high service levels, and take the time to understand the individual needs of those in their care.
The study also revealed a whopping two out of three Australians believe the industry is under funded. This increases to three quarters for those aged over 60, and seven in 10 for those with a family member receiving aged care services.
Starts at 60 readers also revealed their feelings about the sector in October as they shared their biggest concerns when it comes to aged care, from failing to fully understanding their options, to abuse, neglect and struggling to afford sufficient care.
We received almost 1,000 responses to an online poll which asked readers to share their biggest concerns about the sector, with the majority (13.7 per cent) telling us they were most afraid of falling victim to abuse, neglect or malpractice at the hands of staff in aged care facilities.
The second biggest worry among readers was revealed to be the increasing cost of services, with 9.3 per cent admitting they are concerned about being able to afford sufficient care when they need it. Many people also expressed their concern over the profit-geared focus of the industry.