Mobilising ‘advocacy for repair’: Reflections on the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

Mobilising ‘advocacy for repair’: Reflections on the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

We all have a deep stake in the outcomes of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Royal Commission. We are all getting older and whether this has a direct impact on us or a loved one now or some time into our future, it matters to all of us.

EveryAGE Counts has made 3 submissions to the Royal Commission (https://www.everyagecounts.org.au/submissions). In summary, our five key calls for change are:

  1. End ageism - Ageism is a key driver of failures in safety, quality of care and quality of life within our aged care system.
  2. Embed a rights based approach - We must see a steadfast focus on the rights of older people - to safety and quality of care as well as personal autonomy in decision-making across all aspects of daily life.
  3. Guarantee quality of life - There is a missing but urgent imperative to give quality of life (defined by older people themselves) the same weight as quality of care in aged care.
  4. Implement co-design and give a voice to older people - The necessity of a system designed and delivered around the voices of those using it has been one of the greatest lessons to emerge from the Royal Commission.
  5. Transform the workforce - The aged care workforce is habitually undervalued, stigmatised and underpaid. This is intricately linked to the low social value placed on aged care, older lives and working with older people. This is ageism.

It’s up to all of us…

All of us need to come together as citizens, consumers, workers, providers and professionals to reimagine the possibilities for living and care arrangements in later life. The Royal Commission gives us the rallying point and a powerful opportunity do this.

But what about that nagging doubt…‘We’ve had 20 aged care reviews in 20 years – will the outcome of this Royal Commission be any different?’

Yes, it’s true, that many Royal Commissions are set up in the wake of a crisis, a disaster or a systemic failing that can no longer be denied. And yes, a government can set up a Royal Commission as a tool to respond to the outcries of the public as a way of restoring its own legitimacy. It is also true that the job of the Royal Commission is to provide recommendations to government. Government, theoretically at least, can take them or leave them.

That’s where we all come in. This Royal Commission is much more than a tool of government. It is a tool of society, for each of us to continue to use in our change, transformation and advocacy efforts.

It is not only government’s responsibility to act, to implement, to change. This falls to all of us. Our role, our voice does not end when the Royal Commission hands down its findings or when the government responds.

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