On 13 June 2017, the Senate referred the above matter to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report:
- the 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;
- the adequacy and effectiveness of complaints handling processes at a state and federal level, including consumer awareness and appropriate use of the available complaints mechanisms;
- concerns regarding standards of care reported to aged care providers and government agencies by staff and contract workers, medical officers, volunteers, family members and other healthcare or aged care providers receiving transferred patients, and the adequacy of responses and feedback arrangements;
- the adequacy of medication handling practices and drug administration methods specific to aged care delivered at Oakden;
- the adequacy of injury prevention, monitoring and reporting mechanisms and the need for mandatory reporting and data collection for serious injury and mortality incidents;
- the division of responsibility and accountability between residents (and their families), agency and permanent staff, aged care providers, and the state and the federal governments for reporting on and acting on adverse incidents; and
- any related matters.
Submissions were sought by 3 August 2017. The reporting date is 18 February 2018. On 13 February 2018, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 28 November 2018. The Committee has called for further submissions by 30 November 2018 and will seek a further extension of time for reporting until February 2019.
Note: The 3 February 2018 interim report for this inquiry focused on the aged care regulatory failures that contributed to the substandard, and in some cases criminally abusive, aged care provided to residents at the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Facility in South Australia.
To complement the work of the recently announced Royal Commission into Aged Care and the Carnell Paterson Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes, the committee has agreed its continuing inquiry will focus on term of reference a, with an emphasis on the regulation of clinical, medical and allied health care in the aged care context.