Aged Care Quality and Safety

The Uniting Church and its network of agencies pledges to cooperate fully and openly with the Aged Care Royal Commission.  The Church has issued the following Values Statement to demonstrate this commitment to transparency, accountability and continuous improvement.

Uniting Church in Australia Values Statement – Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

Aged Care Royal Commission website

Terms of Reference – Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

In February 2019 Claerwen Little, National Director of UnitingCare Australia appeared before the Aged Care Royal Commission.

Witness Statement to the Aged Care Royal Commission – Claerwen Little, National Director, UnitingCare Australia

Transcript of Claerwen’s appearance at the Aged Care Royal Commission

Aged Care Data Project

The aged care sector is about to enter a phase of unprecedented change. In the years ahead, the industry will rapidly transform under the influence of the shift in demographics, changing funding models, new quality standards and the Aged Care Royal Commission.

Key messages

  • In Australia today, over 127,000 older people are unable to access the home care services they qualify for. The level of resources available for people in residential aged care is inadequate to provide a satisfactory quality of life and care support.
  • Our current predicament stems from an over-reliance on government subsidies to deliver aged care services and a historic pattern of prematurely institutionalising older people. The lack of home care support creates a huge social impact for older Australians and their families and an increasing burden on the hospital sector.
  • The solution lies in the establishment of an Ageing in Place model of care, enabling people to remain in their homes as they get older, reducing the proportional dependence on nursing homes. Within the context of an equitable means testing framework, more people will be able to remain at home and within their communities.
  • The report demonstrates that there is an opportunity to facilitate this outcome before the demographic change overtakes our capacity to deliver structural reform. While the concepts are not new in Australia, the current approach to reform is deficient and represents an extrapolation of existing service and funding arrangements.
  • International research and contemporary service models demonstrates that the opportunity for substantial gains in the quality of life for older Australians is much greater and more affordable.
Aged Care Data Project - Module 1
International research - Alternative models of care
Newgate - Attitudes towards the Aged Care Sector

Submissions to the Aged Care Royal Commission

  • Workforce Issues – December 2019
  • Aged Care Program Redesign – January 2020
  • Aged Care Program Redesign, response to Senior Counsel Assisting – March 2020
  • Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on aged care services – June 2020
  • Summary submission incorporating second response to investigation of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on aged care services and response to Financing Aged Care (consultation paper 2) – July 2020
Workforce Issues
Aged Care Program Redesign: Services for the Future
Aged Care Program Redesign: Services for the Future
Aged Care Program Redesign: Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic
Summary submission

Ageing to Our Full Potential

The Australian aged care system is in crisis as more older Australians are facing the prospect of being unable to access the care they need when they need it.  In our Witness Statement to the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety, UnitingCare Australia argued that the aged care system is not viable or sustainable in its current form as it “no longer meets the needs and expectations of its consumers and the Australian community more broadly”. 

UnitingCare Australia worked with the Nous Group to develop a vision document – Ageing to our full potential – preparing for an older Australia.  The vision presented in the document draws from the experience and practice-based evidence that resides within the UnitingCare network, insights from national and international research including consumer research and reports that have been commissioned or developed by the UnitingCare network.

The Report identifies five key components of our vision for the future:

  • Compassion, dignity and rights of people as they age
  • Accessibility of services
  • Quality, safety and innovation
  • Viability and sustainability
  • A skilled and resourced care workforce

Uniting Church Values Statement in relation to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

The Uniting Church welcomes the decision of the Federal Government to establish a Royal Commission into the quality and safety of aged care and pledges itself to cooperate fully and openly.

The Commission’s recognition of the importance of building a national culture of respect for ageing and older persons in Australia is one we wholeheartedly endorse.

The Uniting Church, in all its expressions, seeks to reflect the way of Jesus, whose life and mission embodies God’s desire for all people to be treated with respect and compassion.

We are committed to integrity in public life and the proclamation of truth and justice.

The delivery of high quality, compassionate care and our commitment to honouring human rights is at the heart of our mission.

We value transparency, accountability and continuous improvement. We deeply regret and apologise for the times when we have not lived these values fully.

We are determined to address whatever issues and challenges may emerge for us in order to meet the needs of those people and communities in our care.

During the conduct of the Royal Commission, the Church and its Agencies will continue to strive to maintain open communication with residents, clients and their families and to support staff and volunteers. As always we remain receptive to feedback.

We look forward to contributing our expertise to the discussion on the future of aged care in Australia, and to demonstrating what high quality looks like.

We will engage with the sector and the Royal Commission to propose innovations in care, and to advocate for an equitable, affordable, sustainable, high-quality future that offers choice, control and independence to all older people, especially to those most vulnerable.