The Next Royal Commission Wave – Aged Care Quality and Safety

On 16 September 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Government’s decision to ask the Governor General to establish a Royal Commission to investigate the quality of care provided in residential and home aged care to senior Australians and to young Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care settings.

Since the announcement was made, some shocking facts have been revealed in relation to the quality of care provided in some of our aged care facilities:

  • Dangerous antipsychotic medicine being overprescribed to elderly residents which can lead to premature death and damaging side effects;
  • Residents not being fed or showered daily due to understaffing;
  • The restricted usage of incontinence pads; and
  • Physical and emotional abuse being administered by some carers to these vulnerable patients.

This caused me to begin thinking about what I would want for my own care in such circumstances, should the need arise.

We have an ageing population and Australians are living longer. That being the case, it is important to consider what it is that we would want not only for ourselves, but for our partners, our parents, our children should there be a requirement for assisted care at some point in time.

At iWills Legal, we are observing an increasing trend to stipulate in the relevant Enduring Power of Guardianship or Enduring Power of Attorney for personal matters documents, a requirement that that the donor of such power never be placed into an aged care facility, but rather, that their funds be utilised at that time for the purpose of improving their home in order that they can remain living there and, further, to enable the payment of carers, nurses and/or doctors to provide any relevant care within the home.

Depending on what the outcome of this Royal Commission may be, we will probably see more and more people take up this approach.