Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 February 2005 2005) . . Page.. 442 ..
the need for mobile allied health services.
The Government has assessed the Report and the recommendations put forward. Recommendation 1 is noted, the first part of recommendation 2 is agreed to in principle, and the second part of recommendation 2 is noted.
The recommendations focus on:
the Government investigating the occurrence of retribution in aged care facilities, and the need for policies to ensure complaints about aged care facilities can be made safely; and
undertaking a survey of allied health services provided in aged care facilities, and developing an older persons health action plan aimed at improving access to allied health care services.
The Government shares the concerns raised by the Committee about possible retribution and making safe complaints, however its does not have responsibility for funding, standards and operation of residential aged care facilities. This is the responsibility of the Australian Government, and the ACT Government will work with the Australian Government to develop approaches to respond to the issues raised in this recommendation.
The Australian Government has established the Aged Care Complaints Resolution Scheme (ACCRS) for residents of residential aged care facilities and the community in general, to make complaints about residential aged care facilities, and strengthening this Scheme may be one response.
In the event that a complaint is made, the Community and Health Services Complaints Act 1994 provides for complaints to be made about services for aged people. These services are defined to include services provided in association with the use of premises for the care, treatment or accommodation of aged people.
This is another complaints mechanism that residents of aged care facilities can use in addition to the Aged Care Complaints Resolution Scheme (ACCRS).
The second recommendation focuses on conduct of a survey of allied health use by residential aged care residents and an older person’s health action plan.
The ACT Government currently provides a wide range of health services to all sections of the community, individuals, families and groups with special needs, including people in residential aged care.
Residents of residential aged care facilities are also able to access the full range of hospital services according to clinical need in line with arrangements for other members of the ACT Community.
The ACT Government is implementing a range of strategies to improve services for older people in ACT hospitals. These include the establishment of a sub-acute facility to provide additional rehabilitation, convalescent and psycho-geriatric services, and clinical decision units collocated within hospital emergency departments to improve assessment and management of older people attending Emergency Departments.
Despite the current ACT Government initiatives the issue of service access is an issue for residents of aged care facilities. However, conduct of a comprehensive survey would entail a significant investment in time, energy and resources from aged care providers, and their cooperation would be essential if the survey was to be effective.
The interest among aged care providers in participating in a survey is unclear, and there may be other ways to identify gaps in service access. The ACT Government will approach aged care providers to discuss interest in a possible survey and to consider other approaches to identifying and responding to service gaps.