News & Events

Speaking out for residents

August 18, 2017

OCAV continues to make submissions on issues that are critical to the well-being of older Victorians in need. Over the past month, the Association has made submissions to the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) and Productivity Commission.


OCAV has rejected the AACQA’s plans to charge operators to conduct annual unannounced spot checks. Its view is in line with other industry providers and aged care peak organisations.


Phillip Wohlers, CEO of OCAV, said: “The changes are inappropriate, unreasonable and a significant cost burden.”


He said the charges, announced in the 2015-2016 Federal Budget, would cost the sector around $11 million annually. The Federal Government has already announced its intention to explore the introduction of private accreditation services under a market-based approach.


“We believe that these charges could threaten the independence of the accreditation process,” Mr Wohlers said.


“Given the multiple reviews and activities around compliance and accreditation that are already underway, now is not the time to introduce cost recovery,” he added.


The AACQA is yet to release submissions publicly, citing confidentiality. OCAV’s submission can be found here.


OCAV has also commented on proposed reforms to end of life care in the Productivity Commission’s draft report on Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice in Human Services: Reforms to Human Services.


The Association warns that a recommendation to introduce a new Medicare item number to enable nurses to facilitate Advance Care Planning (ACP) is not sensible.


“We believe that this would be best achieved by GPs rather than nurses working in an aged care facility,” Phillip Wohlers said. “There could be potential for elder abuse, especially if there is a close relationship between the nurse and person in palliation.”


Mr Wohlers said that conversations about advance care planning should take place well ahead of end of life care, especially for people living with dementia.


“Entry to aged care is often a stressful time for both the resident and family, and often the resident is beyond making ACP decisions when they move into aged care,” he said.


OCAV supports the recommendation that people with a preference to die at home should be able to access support from community based palliative care services. However, as Phillip Wohlers says, without 24-hour care in place, it could be problematic and funding for services would have to be increased.


OCAV develops a care plan for each resident as soon as they step through the doors of its aged care facility. The plan includes their wishes for end of life. In the past year 12 patients were palliated at Liscombe House, and only two went to a hospital where they died. Few people leave the aged care facility to die, a fact that defies the national trend.

During Palliative Care Week (May 21 to 28) figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) revealed that hospitalisations for palliative care are growing faster than all hospitalisations. The figures also showed that, before their death, a greater proportion of people are accessing palliative care services in hospital. Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, palliative care-related hospitalisations rose by about 19%. This is greater than the 15% increase recorded for hospitalisations for all reasons over the same period.

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