Sunday Territorian



IT BEGGARS belief that two years after a royal commission blew the whistle on a “cruel and shameful’’ system of aged care, nursing homes are still being busted for mistreatin­g Australia’s most vulnerable citizens.

The royal commission exposed horrifying assaults, with neglected residents left in their own faeces, bashed, starved and enduring painful deaths.

The Sunday Territoria­n can reveal today that 155 nursing homes failed inspection­s by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) this year – including Darwin’s Regis Tiwi Gardens.

What the inspectors discovered – two years after the federal government pledged to improve standards of care – is cruel and shameful.

Maggots were left in a resident’s festering bedsore for four months at Regis Tiwi Gardens, where ACQSC revealed a fellow resident had choked to death on food identified as a choking hazard.

The Regis home was banned in May from admitting any new residents for six months and ordered to train staff in “safe and effective clinical care and personal care including wound management, weight-loss management, behaviour management, and identifica­tion and management of care recipients at risk of choking’’.

The ACQSC said yesterday that it had lifted the sanction on September 30.

The Morrison government should be commended for axing the pointless “by-appointmen­t” audits that let aged care homes cover up abuse, neglect and short-staffing, when they were given several months’ forward notice of an inspection.

Now ACQSC can swoop on homes without notice, with spot checks on 3600 aged care homes in 2020/21.

The fact that ACQSC is exposing the same problems – often caused by shortages of skilled staff – shows that aged care is still in crisis.

The federal government must mandate staffing levels, fund the sector to guarantee high-quality care, and stop private companies profiteeri­ng at the expense of vulnerable residents.

These are our parents, grandparen­ts and neighbours – the “quiet achiever” Aussies who went to war to defend our way of life, served their communitie­s without complaint and built Australia’s prosperity.

Elderly Australian­s deserve dignity, respect and competent care in their last years of life.

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