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The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety gets underway today in Adelaide.

The commission will look at the extent of substandard care, mistreatment and abuse, systemic failures and ways to improve the sector.

It's also expected to examine the use of physical restraints and medication to control the behaviour of dementia patients.

Victims and families are being urged not to be afraid to tell their stories as the aged care royal commission begins today in Adelaide. Submissions opened following the announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in October last year and anyone who wishes to share their personal experiences has until the end of June to do this. If you have concerns, or have experienced poor quality care first-hand and wish to make a submission, here’s what you need to know:

What is the role of the Commission?

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was established in October 2018 by then Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, following increasing reports of abuse and mistreatment of elderly Australians in aged care facilities and the extensive closure of facilities by the Department of Health.

Former Federal Court Judge the Honourable Richard Tracey and ex-CEO of Medicare Lynelle Briggs were installed as commissioners and will investigate issues set out in the Terms of Reference, by gathering information through interviews, document checking and public hearings, before delivering an interim report by 31 October, 2019 and a full report the following year.

The public inquiry will look at the quality of care provided to senior Australians in residential and home aged care, as well as young Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care settings, including all forms of abuse. It will also take into consideration the increasing number of Australians living with dementia in relation to aged care services.

Commissioners Tracey and Briggs will also inquire into the challenges and opportunities facing the industry, such as affordability, as well as what interested parties – including the government, relatives and community – can do to strengthen the existing system, ensuring that patients are at the centre of all services.

What to include

When it comes to making a submission, it’s crucial to ensure that you include as much relevant information as possible. The royal commission’s website has compiled a helpful list of questions to read before you click ‘submit’ on your form:

  • What is the quality of the aged care services delivered by the provider to you or someone you know? Please provide as much detail as you can about any specific incidents or events which occurred.

  • What are the challenges and how can the provider, or Australia generally, better deliver aged care services to people with disabilities and/or persons living with dementia.

  • What are the challenges and how can the provider, or Australia generally, better deliver aged care services to those who wish to remain living at home and/or living in remote, rural and regional Australia?

  • What are the challenges and how can the provider, or Australia generally, better ensure aged care services are person-centred?

  • What are the challenges and how can the provider, or Australia generally, improve the quality and safety of end of life care?

  • What are the challenges and how can the provider, or Australia generally, provide high quality, safe and affordable aged care services?

  • What do you think are examples of good practice and innovative models in delivering aged care services and why do you think these practices or models have been effective?

  • What changes would you like the Royal Commission to recommend?

Will your submission be public?

When you submit your form online, you will be given the option to do so anonymously by simply omitting your contact details. However, by doing so, you limit the commission’s ability to contact you to verify any information in your submission.

It is also important to note that your submission may be made public unless you request otherwise. Submissions that are made public may include redaction's deemed appropriate by the commission. You may also request that, if your submission is made public, it is made public anonymously.

Who can’t make a submission?

If you are considering making a submission, you should be aware that the royal commission cannot resolve individual disputes, award compensation or order action against any party. Anyone who wishes to raise concerns about the quality of aged care services subsidised by the government should contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission instead.

How to make a submission

To make a submission, you must visit the royal commission’s website where you will find an online submission form. One form must be completed for each provider you wish to raise concerns over.

Click here to visit the royal commission’s official website.

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