Law ex­pert warns what to look out for when loved one in care

Sunshine Coast Daily - - NEWS -

AN ABUSE law ex­pert has re­vealed the signs peo­ple should watch out for if they be­lieve their loved one is be­ing mis­treated in care.

Leanne McDon­ald, from Shine Lawyers, said older Aus­tralians were vul­ner­a­ble to abuse in aged care and hospi­tal set­tings with the per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion over the age of 65 ris­ing from 9 per cent in the 1970s to about 14 per cent now.

“Fam­i­lies have to put the care of their loved ones into the hands of oth­ers and have to trust that they are be­ing looked af­ter with kind­ness and dig­nity. It is a ter­ri­ble shock to re­alise that might not be hap­pen­ing.”

El­der abuse can take many forms, ac­cord­ing to Ms McDon­ald, who said it ranged from ne­glect and poor care to phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and sex­ual abuse as well as fi­nan­cial ex­ploita­tion.

She said signs to watch out for in aged care fa­cil­i­ties and hos­pi­tals could in­clude de­hy­dra­tion, mal­nu­tri­tion or un­ex­plained weight loss, poor or in­suf­fi­cient hy­giene and pres­sure sores or blis­ters from lack of move­ment.

“These things can in­di­cate an ad­e­quate level of care is not be­ing ad­min­is­tered,” Ms McDon­ald said.

“We know this is an on­go­ing prob­lem in aged care gen­er­ally and strong reg­u­la­tion and en­force­ment, along with ran­dom spot checks, are a very im­por­tant part of the process to stop this hap­pen­ing.

The El­der Abuse Pre­ven­tion unit can be reached on 1300 651 192, or the Aged Care Com­plaints Com­mis­sioner on 1800 200 422.

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