Date Published: 16 March 2009
Aged Care Residents Miss Out On Medical Care
Residents of aged care facilities are missing out on high-quality medical care, which other Australians enjoy, because of a lack of access to doctors and a shortage of registered nurses, the AMA said today.
In aged care facilities sanctioned over the past year by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency – for which reports are available - residents were found to be in poor medical condition.
Dr Peter Ford, chair of the AMA Committee for Healthy Ageing, made a plea for the Federal Government to put in place a specific Accreditation standard for aged care homes to ensure their residents have ongoing access to medical care.
“The accreditation scheme is meant to be a safety net for the elderly but it continues to show that the medical care of residents is at risk. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” he said.
“We applaud the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, for raising the problems. Now it is time to fix them by introducing a medical care standard to safeguard residents.
Every elderly person in Australia deserves a right to medical care, regardless of whether they’re in their own home or in a nursing home.”
Dr Ford said the Government should provide specific funding for aged care facilities to recruit and retain doctors to provide medical care to residents.
“There also needs to be an adequate number of appropriately skilled nurses in aged care homes to ensure that residents who require medical attention from a doctor are identified quickly,” he said.
Dr Ford said funding should also be provided for the establishment of properly-equipped treatment rooms in aged care homes. At present, some patients have to be examined by doctors in rooms which are not adequately-equipped, or even in front of other residents.