The Human Crisis in Australia’s Aged Care Homes

Event status:

closeup of elderly woman holding her face More than a year since the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety published its eight volume Report, the crisis in Australia’s Aged Care Homes is greater now than at any time in the sector’s history. Join this discussion on what is now happening inside Australia’s aged care homes, what are the reasons for the crisis, and what are the possible ways forward.

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Date:
Tuesday 05 April 2022 05:00 pm until Tuesday 05 April 2022 06:30 pm (Add to calendar)
Contact:
Victoria Dillon, University Events
events@latrobe.edu.au
Presented by:
Ideas & Society Program
Type of Event:
Public Lecture
Cost:
Free

It is more than a year since the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety published its eight volume Report. And yet the crisis in Australia’s Aged Care Homes is greater now than at any time in the sector’s history. In the first two months of this year some 700 residents in these homes have died after contracting covid-19.

For this reason, the Ideas and Society Program has convened an outstanding panel with a variety of perspectives—those of two aged care academic specialists, a senior medical affairs journalist, a humanitarian lobbyist, and a morally engaged and enraged family member—to discuss what is now happening inside Australia’s aged care homes, what are the reasons for the crisis, and what are the possible ways forward.

Some of the questions concerning this humanitarian crisis, according to the Convenor of the Ideas and Society Program, Professor Robert Manne, include:

“What were the most important recommendations of the Royal Commission? Why did one of our panellists, Professor Joseph Ibrahim, describe the Federal Government’s response to the Royal Commission, thus far, as one of “abject failure”? What is Labor likely to promise? The Federal Opposition has criticised the Government but has not yet announced its policy for the aged care homes in detail.

“The panel will convene shortly after Josh Frydenberg has handed down his government’s annual budget. Will this budget substantially strengthen the performance of Australia’s aged care homes?

“Why has there been such a fearful death toll during the Omicron wave of the pandemic? How far can the death toll be explained by long term structural weaknesses in the system? How far by the decision of the Howard government to throw the sector open as greatly as possible to the free market? How far by the indifference of public opinion, except perhaps for those who are concerned about what they can see is happening to members of their family? And how far by an underlying, invisible bias, “age-ism”?

“How far has the current crisis been caused by the shortage of staff, both nurses and carers, who have been furloughed because of the Omicron wave of the pandemic? Why are carers paid $23 per hour, less than those working in unskilled retail jobs? Why, and with what effect, did the Federal government call in the Army?

“And most importantly of all, what now needs to be done—in both the short and long-term—to improve the performance of the aged care home sector?”

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