Chapter 1- Introduction
Terms of reference
On 23 June
2004 the Senate referred the following matters to the Committee for
inquiry and report by 30 September
- the adequacy of current proposals, including those in
the 2004 Budget, in overcoming aged care workforce shortages and training;
- the performance and effectiveness of the Aged Care
Standards and Accreditation Agency in:
- assessing and monitoring care, health and
- identifying best practice and providing
information, education and training to aged care facilities, and
- implementing and monitoring accreditation
in a manner which reduces the administrative and paperwork demands on staff;
appropriateness of young people with disabilities being accommodated in residential aged care facilities and the
extent to which residents with special needs, such as dementia, mental illness
or specific conditions are met under current funding arrangements;
- the adequacy
of Home and Community Care programs in meeting the current and projected needs
of the elderly; and
effectiveness of current arrangements for the transition of the elderly from
acute hospital settings to aged care settings or back to the community.
On 1 December
2004 the Senate agreed to the Committee's recommendation that the
reference, not disposed of at the end of the 40th Parliament, be re-adopted
with a reporting date of 23 June 2005.
Conduct of the inquiry
The inquiry was advertised in The Australian and on the Internet. The Committee invited
submissions from Commonwealth and State Government departments and other
interested organisations and individuals.
The Committee received 243 public submissions and 10
confidential submissions. A list of individuals and organisations who made a
public submission or provided other information that was authorised for
publication by the Committee is at Appendix 1.
The Committee held nine days of public hearings in Sydney
– 19.8.04 and 11.3.05; Canberra –
11.2.05; Adelaide – 22.2.05; Perth
– 18.3.05; Melbourne
26.4.05 and 27.4.05; and Hobart
– 28.4.05. Witnesses who give evidence at the hearings are listed in Appendix
2. The Committee was pleased to undertake interesting and valuable inspections
in Perth and Melbourne.
In Perth, the Committee had the opportunity
to visit the Multiple Sclerosis Society Wilson administration Centre and the 'Fern
River' accommodation complex also at
the Brightwater Care Group facility for people with Huntington's Disease Ellison
House in Carlisle and a group house in Maylands for
people with Acquired Brain Injury. In Melbourne,
the Committee visited the Multiple Sclerosis Society house in Carnegie
that was a project developed with the assistance of Innovative Pool funding.
The Committee would like to record its thanks to Sue
Shapland, Senior Manager of the MS Society WA; Janet Wagland, Services Manager
for Younger People with the Brightwater Care Group; Lindsay McMillan, CEO and Alan
Blackwood, Manager MS Society of Victoria; and Bronwyn Morkham, National
Director National Alliance of Young People in Nursing Homes, who arranged the
inspections of the respective facilities and who, in combination with other
staff, accompanied the Committee members to explain the establishment,
administration and operation of the facilities.
The Committee would like to particularly express its appreciation
and gratitude to the residents of the different facilities that were inspected
who permitted the Committee to visit their home and meet and talk with them.
The Committee also thanks the many individuals and
groups who provided submissions that were such a valuable part of the inquiry
including those who described the variable quality of care provided to their
elderly family members. The Committee especially thanks the many individuals
and family members who wrote submissions or appeared at the hearings and
contributed very moving descriptions of their loved ones with disabilities
either being accommodated in aged care facilities or being faced with that
prospect due to the lack of alternative appropriate care.
These many graphic and poignant personal testimonies
reinforced the Committee's view of the total unacceptability of placing younger
people with disabilities into residential aged care facilities.
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