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New aged care safeguards provide greater security for older Australians.

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Australian Medical Association Limited ABN 37 008 426 793

42 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT 2600: PO Box 6090, Kingston ACT 2604 Telephone: (02) 6270 5400 Facsimile (02) 6270 5499 Website :


AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today the Federal Government’s aged care reform package to safeguard older people from sexual and physical abuse will provide great comfort to aged care residents and their families.

Dr Haikerwal said Minister for Ageing, Senator Santo Santoro, has delivered on his promises to act strongly against elder abuse.

“This package will help restore confidence in the residential aged care sector,” Dr Haikerwal said.

“Residents, their families and loved ones will now have greater comfort and security about the positives of quality residential aged care without the fears of attack or abuse.

“The AMA pushed strongly for the compulsory reporting of physical and sexual abuse in residential aged care facilities by employees, health care professionals and volunteers in the residential aged care setting.

“We have some concerns with the extent of the compulsory reporting and how it may be applied to harmful interactions that might occur between residents.

“Given the high number of residents with dementia in high level care, this area may need some more attention and further refinement as the new systems are bedded down.

“The AMA recommends that funding be directed to specifically research the causes of elder abuse and the best ways to prevent it happening in residential aged care.

“While the we welcome an enhanced and more transparent complaints mechanism, it would be even more effective if the proposed Office for Aged Care Quality and Compliance was wholly independent of the Departmental and accreditation agencies processes.”

Dr Haikerwal said today’s package would be greatly strengthened with some extra funding for:

• Resources to assist the residential aged care sector employ, train and properly remunerate accredited aged care professional staff • Resources to provide specialised education and training within residential aged care facilities to alter the culture that allowed elder abuse to occur. • A practical education and training program to enhance the awareness and prevention of

elder within the aged care sector and in the broader community.

“Older Australians and their families need to know that the care provided will preserve their dignity and privacy. Older people have rights, can still make their own decisions, and they deserve respect,” Dr Haikerwal said.

27 July 2006

CONTACT: John Flannery 02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761