Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2015 Contents Victoria's new
Andrews plans to
ratios in state-
owned aged care.
A WHOPPING 40 per cent of
boards of not-for-profit aged care
organisations have discussed a
merger with another organisation
in the past 12 months, and half
of them believe it will happen, a
new survey of company directors
The primary reasons
for merging are to ensure
their organisation's financial
sustainability (52 per cent of
cases) or because they have
been approached by smaller
aged care providers, according
to the report by the Australian
Institute of Company Directors
(AICD) released in late 2014.
The aged care specific findings
are based on two focus groups
and a survey of 135 non-executive
directors and nine executives.
Phil Butler, NFP manager for
the AICD, said that while there
in previous surveys
there was now
Talk of mergers
aged care board
directors; in the
sector 30 per cent
mergers and 25 per cent of those
expected it to happen, compared
to 40 per cent and 50 per cent
respectively in aged care.
Financial imperatives and
the complex compliance
requirements in the aged care
sector were factors contributing
to the push towards mergers
and creating larger
would be better
able to cope, Mr
Butler told AAA.
draw together a
group of directors
that would more
fully understand the
of operating in the aged care
sector, he added.
The surveyed aged care
directors also spoke of their
desire for the Federal Government
to change its attitude to the
sector and "to stop treating it as a
problem that needs to be solved."
Aged care directors wanted
the government to create
stability in the policy and funding
environment to enable providers
to catch-up with current change
and allow them to develop
strategies, the report said.
They sought simplified policy,
a reduction in reporting burden
and streamlined accreditation
standards. "In particular, they
want standards that reflect the
quality of life of aged people, not
'44 measures that don't mean
anything at all,' said Mr Butler.
In community care, CDC was
seen as a positive policy direction
but there were concerns about
how it would impact providers'
capacity to "bend service
allocation at the front line to serve
those most in need or deal with
AUSTRALIA'S CRIMINAL laws must be reviewed in light of the
low rate of prosecutions for elder abuse, according to a leading
expert who has also called for the various power of attorney and
guardianship laws at the state level to be re-examined.
Professor Wendy Lacey, Dean of Law at the University of South
Australia told the Australian Association of Gerontology national
conference in November that along with legislative reform, coroners
needed to be educated about elder abuse and its prevalence.
While there were mandatory reporting obligations around
suspected physical and sexual abuse under the Aged Care Act,
these only covered seniors living in residential aged care, and did
not protect the majority of older people, she said.
Professor Lacey, who is a co-convenor of the Australian
Research Network on Law and Ageing, was appointed in 2013 to
the SA Minister for Health's Steering Committee which reviewed
the state's framework for responding to elder abuse.
Professor Lacy said while crimes such as criminal neglect
were contained in state laws, they were not well-tailored to deal
with elder abuse or were simply not being implemented. "We
need to conduct a review of how criminal law operates," she said.
Very few cases of elder abuse are prosecuted, she said.
"Coroners aren't necessarily looking at elder abuse as being
a possible cause or contributor to cause of death; that's a real
problem," she said. "In my opinion, coroners' offices need more
education about the prevalence of elder abuse and the fact they
should be alerted to it and able to prosecute it." n
More NFPs considering a merger: report
By Darragh O'Keeffe
New Vic government
to legislate ratios
By Natasha Egan
THE NEWLY ELECTED Labor
Government in Victoria has
promised to mandate nurse-
to-resident ratios in
state-owned aged care
facilities but said it won't
stipulate the ratio.
pledge will make
Victoria the first state in
Australia to have nurse-
to-patient and midwife-
to-patient ratios in its
hospitals and aged care
enshrined in law.
In the lead up to
the state election on
29 November, Labor
said it would legislate
the ratios that existed
in the nurses' current enterprise
agreement (2012-2016), and would
consult with the Australian Nursing
and Midwifery Federation (ANMF)
about improving ratios over time.
Labor said this would ensure
that ratios would not have to be
bargained for by nurses in future
wage and conditions negotiations,
and would prevent "less qualified
staff undertaking roles that should
be done by nurses."
government said this
would also help set
a standard of care
across the whole aged
As of March 2013
there were 191 public
owned and operated
aged care facilities
in Victoria. However,
and private operators
sectors make up the
bulk of the state's
aged care providers.
Industry peak body
LASA Victoria is opposed to
nurse-to-patient ratios, which it
described as an "inefficient and
crude" staffing measure.
During the election
campaign, Daniel Andrews,
Victoria's new premier said he
would also stop the sell-off of
public aged care beds. n
Expert calls for
legal reform on
By Darragh O'Keeffe
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