New era of aged care rights

New laws compelling all aged care providers to sign and conform to a single, strengthened Charter of Rights (Charter), will come into force under the Morrison Government’s latest aged care quality and safety reforms.

For the first time, providers will have to give a personally signed copy of the Charter to every one of their residents and care recipients. They must also give them, or their authorised representative, the opportunity to co-sign the document.

“Together, we’re standing up for our most vulnerable senior Australians and we won’t tolerate anything less,” said Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt AM.

“The co-signing makes providers’ commitments and obligations under the Charter clear to clients, and ensures clients are aware of their rights,” he said.

“The comprehensive new Charter covers 14 fundamental protections from safe, quality care, to independence, information, personal privacy, control, fairness and choice.”

The Charter replaces four previous documents that covered various forms of aged care, building on the Morrison Government’s new Aged Care Quality Standards which also comes into effect from 1 July 2019.

It will underpin the new standards which include mandated quality clinical frameworks, open disclosure to consumers and minimal use of restraint, while requiring providers to prove their care and services are safe, effective and consumer-focused.

“Being treated with dignity and living without abuse and neglect are among the top tiers of the new Charter,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Both the standards and the Charter will further empower the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, as it works with the aged care sector to protect senior Australians.

“This is all part of our Government’s unprecedented seniors and aged care agenda, including the recently announced elder abuse hotline and victim support trials.”

In putting together the new charter, more than 550 public submissions were considered, approximately 40 per cent of which were from aged care recipients, their families and carers while 48 per cent were from aged care providers, staff and peak organisations.

Residential aged care services will have until 30 September 2019 to provide the signed Charter to their residents. Home care providers will have until 31 December 2019.

Mr Wyatt said the government’s reforms rollout will not stop, even while the Aged Care Royal Commission continues its critical work.

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