Senate Inquiry interim report into aged care quality released

A Senate Inquiry into aged care regulatory processes was conducted after failures of care were identified at the Mack and McLeay wards in South Australia’s Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service.


LASA CEO Sean Rooney said quality in aged care is not negotiable.


”There are no excuses for the failures in care that were identified at Oakden - it breaches the guidelines, processes and standards that are in place to ensure high quality care for older Australians,” Mr Rooney said.


“In this context, the interim report calls into question the roles played by relevant South Australian authorities and the aged care quality regulator. This also gives rise to concerns regarding the regulator’s ability to effectively apply the aged care system’s quality and oversight frameworks more broadly, which the Committee has said will be further investigated.


“As an industry we all have a role to play in seeking to continuously maintain and improve high standards in quality care and service. This is what the community expects, and the quality standards demand, in order for our industry to maintain its ‘social licence to operate’.


Mr Rooney said the report’s findings also need to be considered alongside existing work in response to the Carnell Paterson Review and the new single aged care quality framework.


“The interim recommendation that dementia care be reclassified as a ‘health service’ could have far reaching implications for both the aged care and health sectors. This will require further detailed examination.”


“To do this we need an accreditation system that assures the community of the safety, wellbeing and quality of life for older Australians living in residential aged care,” Mr Rooney concluded.


Guidelines, processes and standards in aged care are essential but are only as good as their application or as useless as non-compliance, whether deliberate or otherwise.


Regulators must impose rigorous compliance standards, active policing of the application of standards and the prosecution of blatant breaches whether deliberate or through incompetence. Trust in self monitoring and regulation by aged care institutions is desirable, but is clearly misplaced too often.


Reporting, of allege institutional breaches of standards, by family and friends of the elderly is an essential part of the aged care process. Complaints about breaches should be readily brought to the attention of the institution or made directly to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner at or telephone (free call) 1800 550 552.


See the Interim Report “Effectiveness of the Aged Care Quality Assessment and accreditation framework for protecting residents from abuse and poor practices, and ensuring proper clinical and medical care standards are maintained and practised” at


15 January 2018.